Monday, June 28, 2010
One word: Poutine.
Poutine is amazing. It is everything that I love, all layered together in one dish. It is crispy, salty, gooey, rich, fatty, sinful, and absolutely delicious. It is just starting to make it's name here in the states, but is something I would consider moving to Canada for. A traditionally Canadian dish, I hear you can even get versions of it in fast food joints across the country.
But what is in it you ask? Are you ready for this? French fries. Gravy. Cheese curds. Yep, you heard me right, all three of those, smothered on top of each other to make an insane bowl of goodness. If this can't cure a hangover, I don't know what will. Oh wait, did I tell you I added leftover rib meat? It doesn't get much better than this, folks.
My first attempt at deep frying my own french fries, was just okay. They weren't as crispy as I would have liked, but I think perfection is in my near future. I was home visiting my family this past weekend, and my parents used a fry recipe from America's Test Kitchen, which starts the potatoes in cold oil, brings them to a boil and fries them for a good 20-30 minutes. The ones my parents made were freaking amazing, but mine need a little tweaking. It may have been my giant pot. Meet my new, wonderful, addition to my cookware family, a 13-quart LeCrueset dutch oven:
I call her Big Red. God she's beautiful. Anyhoo...
Even though the fries weren't quite up to par, drench them in fresh-from-Wisconsin cheese curds, beef gravy, and little chunks of Dad's smoked baby back ribs, and I didn't even notice.
makes two very generous servings
I made a simple beef gravy since I didn't have any real stuff on hand. If you happen to have any leftover turkey gravy or pot roast drippings or something similar, feel free to use that. From my very sparse research I found that traditional poutine is made with chicken gravy, but I used beef since I was tossing in some leftover rib meat for good measure. As if it wasn't decadent enough.
1 pound yukon gold potatos, cut into 1/4 inch matchsticks
vegetable oil (just enough to cover your potatoes in the pot)
1 cup or so cheese curds
1/2 cup baby back rib meat (or any other leftover meat) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
Place cut potatoes in a large dutch oven or other deep heavy bottom pot. Fill with vegetable or peanut oil until potatoes are covered. Bring the oil to a boil, and keep at the boil without touching the potatoes for a solid 10 minutes. With my giant pot, I should have kept the burner on high the entire time, I believe I had the flame a bit too low. You want a good strong, but controlled boil for the entirety of the frying. After the first untouched 10 minutes, gently stir the potatoes around with a large metal spider or tongs. Let the potatoes fry at a rolling boil for another 10-20 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them), stirring occasionally. you can test a fry by taking one out of the oil and drying it on a paper towel. DO NOT go directly from pot to mouth, you will regret it.
When fries are crisped to your desired consistency, remove from oil with a spider and set to drain in a paper towel-lined dish. You can place the dish in a warm oven until you are ready to assemble if needed, but they are best right away.
While the potatoes are frying, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for just a minute until the mixture turns a light brown color. Slowly whisk in the beef broth and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until sauce reduces and thickens. Stir in your meat pieces and season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper. You can keep this over low heat until the fries are done, stirring occasionally, or make it ahead of time, bringing it to high heat before topping the poutine.
When fries and gravy are ready, its time to assemble. Heap a pile of fries into a shallow bowl or plate. Top with a generous handful of cheese curds and pour the piping hot gravy over the top. I suppose you could sprinkle some fresh Italian parsley on top to give it some green, but really, what's the point?
Yes, its true you may need to run a few extra miles the next day for eating this. But it is seriously worth it.