Ultimate Poutine – What an experience!!
Mixing Canada into my kitchen cooking – I’ve heard about Poutine for years and my friend, Lorraine Zentgraf, has encouraged me to try it, so when we got to Canada, I knew this was the time. I found a recipe on The Canadian Living website and after finding cheese curds in Creston, B.C., I was ready. This is a dish that health-wise you should enjoy maybe once a year – but, do try it, it is wonderful. The gravy from the recipe can be used for all sorts of dishes. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking a pheasant dish when we get to N. Dakota making use of this gravy!! (and…mashed potatoes) While the recipe may look a little daunting, it’s a very easy dish to put together, especially if you cheat (as I did) and use leftover fries.
Canadian Living note: The best part about this classic poutine? The gravy is made using store-bought broth, so you don’t have to make your own. With a few added aromatics, it has all the intense, meaty flavour of homemade. If you’re really pressed for time, use frozen fries and be done in about 30 minutes. By Jennifer Bartoli and The Canadian Living Test Kitchen
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1.8 kg baking potatoes, (such as russet)
1/3 cup (75 mL) warm water
2 dried morel mushrooms
4 tsp (18 mL) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups (750 mL) sodium-reduced beef broth
2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
1 tbsp (15 mL) mixed whole peppercorns
2 tsp(10 mL) cider vinegar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Worcestershire sauce
Pinch dried sage leafs
1/3 cup (75 mL) (75 mL) butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) (125 mL) all-purpose flour
375g cheese curds
Gravy: In small bowl, pour warm water over mushrooms; let stand until softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, shallots, garlic, tomato paste and thyme until onions and shallots are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef broth, chicken broth, peppercorns, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, sage, salt, mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid; bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into large glass measure. Discard onion mixture. In same Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add flour, whisking constantly, until mixture forms smooth paste and is pale butterscotch colour, about 4 minutes. Whisk in reserved broth mixture; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. In deep fryer or deep pot, pour enough oil to come no more than halfway up side; heat until deep-fryer thermometer reads 375 F (190 C) or 1-inch (2.5 cm) cube of white bread turns golden in 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, scrub potatoes; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick slices. Stacking 2 or 3 at a time, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch (5 mm) wide sticks. Pat dry. Working in small batches, blanch potatoes in oil until barely golden, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Working in batches, return potatoes to oil and fry until tender and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Divide half of the cheese curds among 8 bowls; top each with some of the fries and the remaining cheese curds. Top with gravy.
We took a drive to Fort Stevenson in Garrison, N.D. to Garrison Bay and it was so pretty. Being from the west coast, it’s hard for me to think of a ‘bay’ In N. Dakota!
Got ice cream at the marina. Another first for me – Chokecherry ice cream cone – oh my, I love this berry. Farmers market this weekend, so maybe I can pick up fresh from what I read this is the time for them. fingers crossed
The folks next door to us here in the park are from Canada and when I told them about my first experience with chokecherries, they laughed and said they have bushes in their yard. And, they said they also like them as is, tart, but very tasty they think. (I had read they need to be cooked because of the tartness) So, I’m still going to look for them tomorrow at the market. Fingers crossed!! Also, hope I can find a source there for frozen pheasant. I so want to cook one while we’re here!!
And, yesterday, the whole reason for going to Garrison (where I had the Chokecherry ice cream) was to visit Myers’ Meats Specialties – hoping to get some local fare. They really didn’t have much for me to play with – as far as unique meats. But, I did pick up 2 lbs. of local Buffalo burger. So we’ll have Buffalo Burgers.
Locally grown buffalo, from Meyers’ Meat Specialties, Garrison, N.D. Made sure I cooked it medium-rare to save the juiciness. Our wine was a blend of 65% Grenache/35% Syrah – So good.
Haloumi/Bread Cheese – they really are the same thing. I picked up Bread Cheese in Kalispell, MT and had for lunch today with Cornichons, crackers and watermelon.
This is Haloumi Cheese I served as an hors d’oeurve a few years ago and, this is Bread Cheese
What a nice lunch. And, surprise, surprise – had a tad of Kiona Ice wine left and it was wonderful with the cheese and cornichons! The other wine we had open was our 2nd bottle (and last ) of San Lucas Malbec 2011, Mendoza Reserva (Argentina, I think) – what a wonderful deep red wine – it went very well with the cheese, not so much the pickles. Fun afternoon.
A little cooking and a lot of eating this week!! And a good time was had, that’s for sure.