Fries with grated feta are a staple kind of beer garden snack in Bulgaria. They are one of my most favorite craft beering snacks ever. Even though they may sound quite ordinary they are not and it is on you to assume that:).
Beer and fries are beyond a classic combination to me. When you first start drinking beer in Bulgaria, hand cut fries with feta cheese is what you pair it with eight times out of ten. It’s called meze – foods you snack on before you eat your meal. Sort of like appetizers here. The word has oriental origins, part of Bulgaria’s five hundred years of Ottoman yoke.
The combination of fries with feta and beer is so ingrained in the culture and customs of the country that it reminds me of the status a glass of cold milk and cookies occupy here in the USA. Nowadays the fries may no longer be hand cut, but back when I was growing up it was the norm. All kinds of eateries – from bier-gardens to snack bars and fancy restaurants would hand cut their fries.
And don’t even start me on the feta cheese… Bulgarian feta is betta🙂 From sheep’s milk. Your loss if you never try it.
I have mentioned before that even though the legal drinking age in Bulgaria is eighteen, the very concept of it was generally considered non-sense when I was growing up. I mean, beer is the national beverage. Everyone drinks beer and is surrounded by people who do and it is just not a big deal. Alcohol doesn’t have an ‘off limits’ allure (or should I say tint) to its appeal…
Teenagers do not binge drink in secret on the weekend because all they have to do if they really wanted to have a beer is ask their parents and they will most likely get a glass of beer or wine with dinner. I recall many instances when my grandfather offered me a glass of red wine before I even reached eighteen. He had a small vineyard and every fall the whole family would participate in the process or making the wine for the winter.
For a long while I was puzzled by my family’s bizarre assumptions – why on earth would I want to drink bitter beer or not that sweet wine when I could have apple juice or fizzy lemonade? What was wrong with them to even consider such a possibility? And if you must know – I never had a craving for alcohol and I never rolled around under the bar stools at bars such as I’ve seen many of a just turned twenty-one young adults do here. Somehow when a thing is not forbidden, you warm up to it gradually and start liking it only if it’s likable to you.
(I included our awesome uKeg growler in this photo shoot:) Looks beautiful next to the hand cut fries.)
These very likable hand cut fries with feta cheese and oregano taste sooo good. First of all, the potatoes have been chilled for a few hours while soaking in water and before being fried twice.
Second, have you fried fries in olive oil before? The resulting flavor is out of this world. Rather, it is from another part of this world:) Third, fresh oregano is especially well suited as an herb to complement the fries and feta combo.
I recommend lagers along the lines of Pilsners, Dunkels and Helles for the best pairing with this meze. Next, reach out for an IPA. Then go from there and find the beer that delights you the most. Why not a saison? And you cannot go wrong with a weissbier.
Before I leave you with my super simple recipe, I will admit to it. Sure, I’ve given in to bagged store bought fries cooked in the oven. Many more times than I can count. It is convenient.
Our kiddo doesn’t eat them however. Only Chris and I. Our boy seems to have a pretty good sense when it comes to food. He likes fries that were hand cut from an actual raw potato and then fried in olive oil.
One time when he was two and a half we stopped at Euclid Hall in Denver to taste some beers and ordered the Pad Thai pig’s ears, the bruleed beef bone marrow and some brats. We got him the kid’s chicken nuggets with fries. He had neither one, but boy did he keep pointing at the pig’s ears. We let him eat as many bites as he wanted (they come super thinly sliced and are nice and crispy, mmm). Since he was born he has consistently been amazing us with his food choices. A wild ride we won’t trade for the world.
Hand Cut Fries with Feta and Oregano
A popular street food and beer garden dish in Bulgaria. From fresh, hand cut fries. Fried, with sheep's milk feta grated over them and fresh oregano for a zesty herbal kick.
- 4 large Idaho Russet potatoes, recommended
- 4 oz chunk of feta cheese, sheep's milk, Bulgarian in brine if you can find it
- 4 cups of olive oil for frying, you can save the used oil for a second, even third use
- splash of vinegar
- bunch of fresh oregano
- pinch of salt
- Peel and cut potatoes lengthwise. Try to cut them into somewhat uniformly sized sticks to facilitate even frying.
- Place the cut potatoes into a large bowl and top with water and a splash of vinegar (will prevent them from browning and make them crispier). Place in fridge for 30 minutes at least and up to 4 hours.
- Once you take the potatoes out of the fridge and the water, pat dry them thoroughly.
- In a deep pot (dutch oven works really well) heat the olive oil to about 375°F.
- Fry in batches without overcrowding.
- When you see them turn golden you may begin to remove them with a slotted spoon.
- Place on paper napkins to absorb the excess oil.
- Repeat the frying step once more for each batch, fry another 2-3 min, to get perfectly crisp fries.
- Place on paper napkin again and lightly season with salt.
- Serve covered with grated feta cheese and oregano.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 538Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 55gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 371mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 14g
How do you get the cheese to grate evenly? When I try it just crumbles. Our favorite Greek restaurant just closed its doors, and they had the best feta fries covered in shredded and crumbled feta. I’ve got to try my hand at making them now!
Hi, Saleta, you need to find Bulgarian feta – it is much creamier than Greek and doesn’t crumble in the same manner.
Miz Helen says
We will love your awesome Fries! I really appreciate you sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Come Back Soon!
Thank you so much Miz Helen!
Those fries look awesome! I do enjoy the food of Eastern Europe in large part because of the Eastern spices combined with cabbage and potatoes 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty! #ccbg
Thank you Lydia!
Marvellina | What To Cook Today says
and I guess we don’t have Bulgarian Feta here, do we? I’m sold on this fries! I’m a potato addict who will eat plain boiled potatoes just because..! ha..ha…! I totally agree with you on the drinking (and smoking). My parents let us try cigarettes and alcoholic drink before the “legal” age (there’s no legal age in Indonesia, not in my time). They would rather that we try those with them than having to sneak behind their backs ! And…. you guys eat pig ears! Now..that’s the kind of people I hang out with LOL! LOVE pig ears!
Well, actually if there is an Eastern European market around you they will have it:) I also used to order it online, but had to order a lot to justify the shipping and stopped buying there. Crispy pig ears cannot be beat! Perfect for beers. Your parents sound really cool!
French fries are always good in my book…and hand-cut french fries are even better. Now I just need to find some Bulgarian feta to go with them! Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!
I agree Leslie! If you find Bulgarian feta, be sure it is sold in the brine and is from sheep’s milk, preferably. The one from cow’s milk tends to be on the dry side in my experience. Thank you for stopping by!
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond says
I love fries (or chips as we call them in Australia). Thank you for linking up and sharing your recipe with us at #BloggersPitStop
Thank you for stopping by Sue!
Fries are my favorite food ever! Feta fries just tickles me pink, I could eat all of the fries you got with a little feta and oregano thrown into the mix. Beer and fries are the perfect companion. What a great post
Oh gosh! So true…once you try fries with feta, you fall in love!! I did:)
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
The legal drinking age here in Canada is 19, so it’s not much off. I absolutely LOVE fries and, of course, poutine. This kinda reminds me of that with the cheese addition, but such a different flavour profile. Honestly, I could eat fries any way I enjoy them so much. Just last weekend, I had a craving and hubby and I went out and got some…didn’t take much for me to get some, lol. Can’t wait to give these a try with a cold beer. P.S. your growler is gorgeous 😉
OMG, since you mentioned poutine! I have probably gained more pounds from that dish than anything else! Love it so much! Yeah, fries are up there on our list of favorites too!
These sound so delicious!!
I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/
Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!
Thank you Jess!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I’m craving fries like crazy right now. I can’t believe I’ve never topped my fries with feta, considering how much I loooove both feta AND fries. Also, I’m considering moving to Bulgaria now. Any country where fries with feta are ubiquitous is my kind of place 🙂
Too funny Kelsie! Yep, the feta and fries are great, but as an American by choice and conviction I can also give you plenty of reasons not to move there:) Not what this blog is about though:)
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
Oh my goodness! There is absolutely nothing better than great fries, especially with beer 🙂 And no, I have never tried fries in olive oil before. But you can be sure I will now!
Thank you Jennifer, you should try frying in olive oil for sure!