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Beef Chili Cheese Fries

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
Salt and cayenne to taste
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Crushed red pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beefsteak or beef broth
2 tablespoons masa harina flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into shoestrings, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 pound grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapenos

Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add
the onions, season with salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until
they begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add the beef, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and oregano,
season with salt and cayenne, and cook until all the pink in the
meat disappears, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 1/2 cups beef stock,
bring to boil, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered,
until the meat is tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Skim
off any fat that rises to the surface.

Combine the masa harina flour with the remaining 1/2 cup stock and
mix to blend. Slowly add to the pot, stirring to blend. The mixture
will thicken. Cook for 30 minutes, then season again with salt
adn cayenne. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

In a heavy, deep pot or an electric fryer, heat 4 inches of vegetable
oil to 360 F. Fry the shoestring potatoes in batches until golden
brown, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels, then season
with salt and cayenne.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cover the bottom of a large, glass rectangular baking pan with the
shoestring potatoes. Combine the Cheddar and Jack cheeses. Sprinkle
the cheese over the fries.

Bake just until the cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan
from the oven and spoon the chili over the top of the fries. Garnish
with the sour cream and jalapenos. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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