Down Home Chili Cheeseburger with Fries

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Down Home Chili:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups yellow onions, chopped 

1 tablespoon minced garlic 

2 tablespoons chili powder 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, such as Emeril's

1 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably 80-percent lean 

One 14.5-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, undrained 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 teaspoon light brown sugar 

2 cups beef stock or low-sodium beef broth 

Chili Cheeseburger:

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, preferably 80-percent lean

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning, such as Emeril's

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce 

8 ounces sharp Cheddar, cut into 8 slices 

4 hamburger buns 

French Fries:

4 large russet or Kennebec potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick batons

4 cups peanut oil 

Salt and pepper 


  1. For the chili: In a heavy-bottomed 6-quart pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until the meat is brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps. Spoon off and discard the rendered fat.
  2. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot along with their juices. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and stock; stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 50 to 55 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve. (Makes 6 cups.)
  3. For the cheeseburgers: Form the ground chuck into 8 patties about 1¿3 inch thick. Preheat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil to the griddle. Season the onion slices with 1¿4 teaspoon each of the Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the onions to the griddle and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lightly season the patties on both sides with the remaining 3¿4 teaspoon Creole seasoning, 3¿4 teaspoon salt, 1¿4 teaspoon pepper, and the Worcestershire. Push the onions off to one side, then place the patties on the hot griddle and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for medium, turning once halfway through. Flip the patties again, add 1 slice of cheese to the top of each, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Place the hamburger buns, cut sides down, on the griddle, and cook until warmed through and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  5. For each burger, place one toasted bun on a serving plate. Place one patty on the bottom half of the bun, spoon chili on top of the patty, and top with a second patty and more chili. Place a portion of the onions on the chili, and finish off with the top of the bun. Serve immediately.
  6. For the French fries: Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl and rinse in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear. Then cover with water by 1 inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
  7. In a 5-quart pot or Dutch oven fitted with a candy or deep-fry thermometer, heat the peanut oil over medium-low heat until the thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Make sure that you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as the fries will bubble up when added.
  8. Drain the potatoes, then wrap in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly pat dry. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, carefully remove the fries from the oil and drain on paper towels. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  9. When ready to serve the fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper-lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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