Last Updated on April 9, 2021
Easy Homemade Oven Chips poshed up for an indulgent treat.
Do you ever get cravings? Sometimes when I should be cooking myself a sensible supper, all I want is homemade chips. Not fries – the real chip’s skinny cousin. These homemade oven chips are my attempt to satisfy those cravings without being totally self-indulgent. A chip pan for one doesn’t seem realistic. But, frozen chips or fries are just not the same. For those of you in the USA, this is what the British call chips (the wafer-thin rounds of crispy potatoes are ‘crisps’ to us – or if you are REALLY posh ‘game chips’)
The sort of chips I grew up eating were cooked by my dad. We had a traditional chip pan that was filled with fat we kept specially for the purpose, festering in the larder till my father was in the mood to fry. Homemade chips were almost a religious occasion. Once the best ‘long’ potatoes were picked from the sack that was stored in the outhouse, we’d carefully peel them and slice them neatly into fingers. They’d sit in cold water while my father got everything ready. A couple of old, clean teatowels to dry the potatoes and then to help drain them (no kitchen paper for us), the pan a third full with fat, salt and pepper on the side. Once the fat was warm, my dad would dry off the potatoes and put them in the wire basket, then dunk them carefully. A gentle sizzle, no more. The potatoes cooked for several minutes like that before being drained off, while the fat was heated up. This was the fun bit. Back down into the fat went the chips and within a few minutes turned a beautiful golden brown. My father would lift and drain them during cooking a couple of times till we had the most wonderful homemade chips, crisp on the outside and fluffy inside.
Can you make homemade chips without a chip pan? Well, yes. While Heston might turn up his nose, my easy homemade oven chips are a pretty good substitute. Particularly if you smother the end result in grated truffled parmesan. Posh cheesy chips! Apart from the taste, the advantage of these homemade oven chips is that you don’t need to store bags of frozen chips in your freezer if you use this recipe. And, you really don’t need a deep fat fryer, an air fryer or anything else that takes up valuable storage space in your kitchen.
There are a couple of tricks you need to bear in mind:
Firstly, parboiling the chips is absolutely necessary. The parboiling is the substitute for my dad’s first, low-temperature deep frying. a Miss out on parboiling your chips and you’ll run the risk of chips that are undercooked in the middle. And, the parboiling process helps to soften the exterior of the chip so that you get a lovely crispy shell.
Secondly, do drain your homemade oven chips in kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, rather than just shovelling them from roasting pan to plate. While you are not ‘deep frying’ your chips, you will still use more oil than you need on your dinner plate.
Once you’ve made your chips, do feel free to pick your own sauce. They go well with homemade mayonnaise and would also work rather nicely with a homemade peri-peri sauce I think. Cheesy chips are a real favourite but rather than a cheese sauce based topping, I like to recreate those truffled cheese chips that you get in restaurants. For me, there are two options. I sometimes have scraps of truffled cheese – pecorino with black summer truffle is a particular favourite. When I don’t, I use parmesan and truffle oil. Yes, I know, truffle oil often doesn’t have any real truffles in it. Mine, from Diforti, says ‘White truffle oil contains the true essence of white truffles, and the flavour and aroma remain as intense throughout time. This is a charming and prestigious truffle oil still based on the original artisan production methods’. I’m convinced it’s excellent quality with really good olive oil as the base, but whether the essence of white truffle equals ‘real truffle’ I don’t know. You really only need a tiny amount, with the objective of creating a heady aroma to complement the homemade oven chips. And, for a late-night treat, I don’t care how ‘real’ it is, any more than I care about how real the ‘smoke’ coming from the top of my cocktail is.
Here’s how to make them. First of all pre-heat your oven to 250c or the hottest temperature possible – 230c is my oven’s maximum and works fine.
You’ll need 2-3 potatoes per person, depending on size and on whether you are making the homemade oven chips as a side dish or as a main course in their own right. You’ll also need baking sheets or roasting pans. I was cooking for myself and used almost the whole of a small roasting pan. You need to allow enough space to be able to spread the potatoes out in a single layer.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into ‘fingers’. You can leave the skins on if you prefer, but I find that the chips lose some of their crispness For this kind of homemade oven chip, you want fingers about half a centimetre thick.
Put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the chips going brown while you heat a large saucepan of water. And add the chips once the water has reached a rolling boil. Cook for 3 minutes, then drain over the sink so that the potatoes dry out completely.
Pour away all the water from the saucepan and add salt, pepper and a tablespoon of sunflower oil or similar cooking oil. Don’t be tempted to think olive oil is better, it really doesn’t work here.
Add the potatoes and put the lid on the pan, then gently shake to mix through the seasoned oil.
Tip the potatoes out onto a baking sheet or roasting pan and spread out into a single layer. Put them in the oven and cook for 15 -20 minutes, turning the chips two or three times so each side is nice and brown.
Meanwhile use the fine grater to grate a heap of parmesan. Again, don’t be tempted to use pre-grated stuff which has the texture of sawdust. For this dish, you need freshly grated cheese. You can substitute pecorino or any other hard cheese.
When your homemade oven chips are cooked and browned on all sides, take them out and drain all the fat off using kitchen paper or a clean, old tea towel.
Pile up in a serving bowl season with more salt and pepper to your own taste and add a few drops of truffle oil to the hot chips, then smother them with grated parmesan or your choice of cheese. Remember to use vegetarian cheese if that matters to you. Enjoy!
Here’s a printable recipe so you can try my homemade oven chips at home.
Homemade Oven Chips with Truffled Parmesan
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil (or your own choice of cooking oil)
- 50 g Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp truffle oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven. I set mine to 230C, which is the hottest possible temperature
- Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into fingers, around 1/2 cm thick. Put them in a bowl of cold water to keep fresh
- Heat a pan of water to a rolling boil and add the potatoes
- Cook for three minutes then drain and put to one side to dry out a little
- Put the oil, salt and pepper into the pan you've used to cook the potatoes and add the chips back to the pan
- Put the lid on the pan and shake gently to coat all the chips
- Tip the chips onto a baking sheet and spread out so they have as much space as possible
- Put in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times so the chips are browned on all sides.
- While the chips are cooking grate the Parmesan
- Remove from the oven and drain the excess fat off on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel
- Put the oven chips in a serving bowl and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary
- Drizzle over the truffle oil and top with the grated Parmesan cheese.