I was going to make matchstick fries again today, because I had an extra Idaho potato lying around, the fries were so delicious last night, and I had leftover frying oil that I didn't want to toss out just yet.
But today someone on LJ's Food Porn community posted his hand-cut fries, and I decided that it was time to try doing that. He didn't post directions, but since the fries last night had turned out so well just by dropping them in oil, I decided I wouldn't complicate matters and just try doing the same thing. Previously, I'd seen a post about making homemade fries and it involved boiling the potatoes and extra work that I didn't feel like going through.
I now know: you don't need to boil them beforehand. The potato cooks through perfectly. Maybe that's because I made thinner fries rather than, say, steak fries, but still -- a very good thing to know.
The first thing I did was brown the remaining duck that I had (the less meaty pieces, as well as the head and the feet!) in order to render the fat, so I could use it for the fries. If I hadn't done this I would have just thrown all of the duck into my stockpot for soup, and the fat would have rendered out that way, anyway, so I don't feel that this was an extraneous, indulgent step. I am making a stock from the remaining duck, but I tossed the pieces into the water (along with half an onion, a carrot, and two celery ribs) after they were browned. I had a nice pool of duck fat after I was done, and to this I added the duck fat/peanut oil from last night.
I sliced up my potato (a large one) into the fry size that I prefer -- this only took a couple of minutes. When the oil was heated and ready, I dropped the fries in and cooked for about 6-8 minutes, until they turned a nice shade of brown. Learning my lesson from last night, I didn't drop them all in at once; I made the fries in 3 batches, draining them on paper towels in between.
I sprinkled the fries with salt and minced garlic (two cloves), and used last night's leftover pomegranate sauce as a dip instead of ketchup. Ahhh bliss!! Now that I know how easy it is to make great fries at home, I won't crave them so much when I'm out.
The one caveat I have to this is that many of the fries were limp after I put them all into my container (a clean Starbucks cup). Now, I am one of those strange people who like limp fries, so this made it even better to me. But I'm not sure what would need to happen to make them crispier. Leave them in the oil longer, maybe, but they were already a nice shade of brown -- doing that would have overcooked the outsides. Higher heat, perhaps. Will have to experiment for my friends and family who prefer crispy fries.