Smothered Beer Cheese Fries with Bacon, or Post-Election Comfort Food

Hand-cut French fries are smothered with a tangy beer cheese sauce, bacon and more in this recipe for Smothered Beer Cheese Fries with Bacon.

Loaded Cheese Fries with Bacon

Four months ago, when I first arrived at the Bangor Daily News, someone mentioned a bear referendum. As the days turned to weeks and months, I learned more than I ever thought I would know about bears in Maine, how they are hunted and why those methods are favored — or not.

Meanwhile, names like Cutler, Michaud and LePage entered my vocabulary. Almost without effort, I learned about candidates throughout the state, what they stood for and who was stumping for them.

One afternoon, while working at home because I was under the weather, a local candidate knocked on my back door to sell himself to me. We had a nice conversation despite my Minnie Mouse pajama pants.

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It’s been months of polls, election events, political visits and non-announcements. My son can tell you about the political ads we’ve seen on television while cuddling in the evenings. And now that we’ve finally reached the end … I couldn’t be happier.

At the time I am writing this, the election results haven’t been determined yet. That’s okay. We’ll know soon enough (in fact, if you are reading this in the printed newspaper, we already probably do).

Our newspaper staff has done a venerable job of covering Maine politics throughout the state. We’ve moderated debates, spoken to candidates, followed the tightly run races and profiled, profiled, profiled.

I don’t know about you, but at this point, I am ready to talk about anything non-election. My ballot has been cast. I’ve edited my last bear referendum headline. And now? I just want some good election comfort food.

Or, maybe, election hangover food. Because we consumed a lot of election news this political season, haven’t we?

Loaded Beer Cheese Fries

That’s what sent me to the BDN test kitchen this week. Because when I think about good comfort food, I think indulgent, decadent, cheesy goodness. With bacon, of course. So I baked up some fries. Then I whipped up a beer cheese sauce to smother them in. And I sprinkled it all with bacon. And jalapeños and green onions.

Is this a healthy recipe? No. Way. It’s plain old indulgent, once-in-a-blue-moon comfort food. Perfect for parties, or post-election reentry. And after a well-covered election season, the fabulous staff of the Bangor Daily News needs a little indulgence. And I bet you do too.

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Smothered Beer Cheese Fries with Bacon

serves 8

2 lbs russet potatoes

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cornstarch

cooking oil spray

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

1/4 cup beer

1/4 pint heavy cream

1 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese

2 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped

1 jalapeno, sliced thinly

1 green onion, dark and light green potions sliced thinly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil. Spray with cooking oil spray.

Slice the potatoes into 1/2-inch strips (cut in half if the potatoes are long). Place in a resealable bag with salt and cornstarch and shake well to combine. Spread onto the baking sheet and spray with additional cooking oil spray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once or twice, until golden and cooked through. Transfer the fries to a rimmed serving platter.

When the fries are done, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour until well-combined and golden. Add the beer a little at a time until fully incorporated. Whisk in the heavy cream. Once the mixture is extremely hot (just a hair before boiling), whisk in the cheese and season with salt, as needed. Once fully incorporated, remove from heat and pour over the fries.

Sprinkle the fries with bacon, jalapeños and green onions. Enjoy immediately.

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.