Loaded Steak Fries

I regularly host a gathering of delightfully geeky friends to share food, drink, witty conversation, and viewing of campy sci-fi when we have it. The gathering has been nicknamed Who Night, after the long-running British sci-fi program Doctor Who and the friends gathered are the Who Crew. And when it comes to feeding the crew, everything from Spanish tapas to game day food has graced my table. Since we're giving a nod to casual food before the holiday entertaining season, I thought I'd share one of my favorite casual entertaining ideas from the past year … courtesy of the Who Crew!

This dish feeds our crowd and blends two great ideas: loaded baked potatoes and poutine. The result is a bevy of thick cut steak fries sprinkled with sautéed peppers and onions and seared spicy steak. Add some salsa, fresh tomatoes, and guacamole to be spooned onto your plate and you've got a laid back meal that's quick and fun. And that's the point of Who Night anyway!

You could, of course, reduce the size of this meal by making less of … well, everything. You could switch up the toppings. Don't like steak? Try chicken or even leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Not wanting guac? Add in some sour cream. And while there's no cheese in the version below, there's no rule that you couldn't add a sprinkle of your favorite blend. Make it yours. Then invite your friends over and make it gone!

Loaded Steak Fries

  • 28 oz. frozen steak fries
  • 1 T. cooking fat - I used bacon fat
  • 1½ lbs. sirloin steak
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • ½ T. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 3-4 peppers, seeded & sliced - I used 2 poblanos and 2 Italian frying peppers
  • 1 small red onion, peeled & sliced into thin strips
  • 8 oz. mixed grape and pear tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 lime, cut into sections
  • 1 c. chunky corn salsa (or other salsa)

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Divide the steak fries among 2 large baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes then toss, shift the baking sheets within the oven to help even baking, and bake another 10 minutes. Broil for an additional 3-5 minutes to crisp them up.

While the fries are baking, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the cooking fat to the pan. Season the steak with the seasonings and sear on each side for about 5-7 minutes per side (for medium rare) and then set aside to rest.

Toss the peppers and red onion into the hot pan and toss until cooked and a little browned. Set aside.

Slice the tomatoes, place in a small serving bowl, and set aside.

Mash the avocados, mayonnaise, and lime juice together to form a simple guacamole; add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

To serve, slice the steak across the grain and arrange the steak strips, cooked peppers and onions, and lime sections over the steak fries. Place the bowls containing tomatoes, guacamole, and salsa in the corners of the baking sheets and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes