One of the things I miss about home the most, is poutine. You can find it almost anywhere in Canada from fast-food to gourmet. So what is poutine, you ask? It is a work of culinary genius! It is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Sounds gross right? Wrong! Just give it a try. You can even add things like blue cheese, bacon or chives. I made the basic version with cheese curds from Beecher’s in Seattle, which can also be bought at QFC. The gravy and fries were home made as well. You can use a deep frier if you have it for the fries or a heavy, deep pot.
I started with the gravy, since fries don’t hold well. I made a brown roux, a combination of butter and flour in equal parts by weight, and cooked it until the roux was a medium brown colour. This is the flour toasting and will add lots of flavour. I then added brown beef stock and simmered it for half an hour to cook out the floury taste. Keep some stock on hand if you are holding it to thin it out if it gets too thick. I just seasoned the gravy with salt and pepper.
Next, set up your pot or frier with vegetable oil and heat to 325 degrees. Set up a sheet tray with paper towel then a cooling rack on top, so the fries can drip off when you remove them. Cut the fries into uniform sticks, keeping in mind that if they are too thick, they won’t cook as well. Hold the potatoes in water to prevent browning, but make sure they are really dry before adding them to the oil. The first time you drop the fries in the oil will only be to blanch them, so one they start to blister (less than a minute), pull them out. Heat your oil to 350 and drop them in again until golden. Salt them as soon as you remove them.
To serve them, use a shallow bowl or a plate and top the fries with the gravy and other ingredients you choose to use. You may beed to break the cheese curds up to sprinkle on the fries, or you can just smother them in cheese like I did. I won’t judge.
Happy belated Canada day!