The Fancy
A combo of sweet and white potatoes instantly ups your fry flavor game. And when you pile on gooey cheese and lush gravy (à la Quebec's pièce de résistance, poutine), you've got some special spuds.

Serves 4

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cumin
  • 1 cup cheese curds or shredded white cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped herbs, such as parsley, chives or cilantro

    Preheat oven to 450°. Peel potatoes and cut into fries. Soak in a large bowl of water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak mushrooms per package instructions, rinse and drain.

    Drain potatoes and spread on a paper towel–lined large baking sheet; pat until fully dry. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Over dried baking sheet, spread 2 Tbsp. olive oil to coat. Add fries in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake 5 minutes.

    Remove foil and bake until edges begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Turn each fry and bake again until edges brown, about 12 more minutes. During last 12 minutes, chop mushrooms into small pieces and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to make a roux. Turn heat to low and, whisking constantly, add mushrooms and vegetable stock.

    Season with a big pinch each of cayenne pepper and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened into a gravy. Divide fries into 4 bowls and top evenly with gravy; cheese curds and herbs.

  • Mixing classic and sweet potatoes creates a satisfying surprise.
  • Mushroom gravy is high in umami, and its earthy, meaty flavor adds more depth than the traditional version.

    The Fast
    If homemade fries are ambitious enough without gravy, just sprinkle on herbs and cheese—flaked Parmesan or crumbled feta adds flavor and texture. Or load DIY toppings onto cooked frozen potatoes instead. We like Grown in Idaho's perfectly crunchy Hand Cut Style fries ($3.50; for stores).

    Food for Thought
    "While any variety of sweet potato works well for fries, I prefer jewel over garnet, since they tend to have less water content, making for a crispier result." —Emma Chapman

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