It’s a sunny Sunday in Ontario, and like everyone else, I’m stuck at home during this COVID thing. I haven’t made sourdough bread or done much other baking, although many have. I’ve tried a few new recipes for dinner, but that’s about it.
Today, though, I had a craving for really good fries. And gravy. And — just for fun — yummy melty cheese.
For those not acquainted with this divine meal combination, POUTINE (poo-TEEN, or Quebec French put͡sɪn) includes french fries and cheese curds, topped with a brown gravy. It originated in the Canadian province of Quebec and for many years was perceived negatively and mocked, and even used by some to stigmatize Quebec society. Poutine later became celebrated as a symbol of Québécois cultural pride. Its rise in prominence led to its popularity outside the province, especially in Ontario and the Maritimes (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
The problem is, if you order this heavenly combo these days, it has to be take-out. Poutine doesn’t fare well being driven home in a box. Period. And nuking the cold, gooey mess when you get there is just wrong. So, with that in mind, I started scrolling through recipes and hit on a couple of winners. For the first time ever, I made poutine at home.
The recipes for fries and gravy follow. Once they’re been prepared, layer the hot fries and cheese, and then pour gravy over top. M-m-mmm!
HERE IS HOW YOU DO IT:
First, get the potatoes ready up to the point where they have to sit in a colander for awhile, and then make the gravy, which would also be excellent over meatloaf or an open-face hamburger sandwich.
(“Authentic Canadian Poutine” from Seasonsandsuppers.ca)
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
20 oz beef broth (I measured water and then added beef Bovril/OXO for a full-bodied taste)
10 oz chicken broth (ditto to above with chicken Bovril/OXO)
Pepper, to taste (don’t skip the pepper)
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown.
- Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer for a minute or so. Season with pepper.
- Keep warm while you bake the potatoes.
(“Best Baked French Fries” from Allrecipes.com)
- cooking spray
- 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into thick fries
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
- Step 1
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Step 2
Cut potatoes into large “steak cut” size fries. Place sliced potatoes in a colander; sprinkle sugar over potatoes. Work sugar in with fingers and set colander into sink or on plate until liquid is released from potatoes, 20 to 30 minutes. Dry potatoes well. (I arranged in a single layer on a tea towel, covered with another tea towel, and rolled tightly.)
- Step 3
Mix potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder (if using), salt, and black pepper in a large bowl and use hands to mix spices with potatoes. Spread coated potatoes in a single layer, leaving space around each potato, on the prepared baking sheet.
- Step 4
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes; flip fries and continue baking until crisp and browned, about 20 more minutes.
PRO TIP: I browned the potatoes under the broiler for the last few minutes because they didn’t look crispy enough.