Holy crap, I can’t believe it’s the last day of mofo already, the month flew by! As fun as this was and as much as I love blogging, hot damn do I need a break; all this cooking, photo taking, photo editing, typing, commenting, etc. can take its toll on a gal. Kudos to all those who managed to post every day during the month, as much as I wish I could have done it, I really appreciated those weekends off. I’m pleased to say that I stuck to my Canadian theme the entire month and I saved the best for last. No self-respecting Canadian can discuss Canadian cuisine without mention the ever so famous poutine!
I’ve consumed more than my fair share of poutine over the years, there used to be a local place in my hometown where, as teenagers, we used to hang out and drink coffee. On top of the ever flowing coffee I chugged back (no wonder we were up all hours of the night) they used to serve pizza, subs and the best poutine ever! Man I loved that poutine, crispy fries, rich gravy, greasy cheese, I ate that poutine way more often then I probably should have. I don’t think I’ve had poutine since leaving home and I definitely have never made it myself, but that’s all changed now and there’s no going back, I’ve (re)succumbed to the mighty poutine, and it was awesome!
I’m sure most of you have heard of poutine before, but let’s do a little rundown, shall we? The poutine is a dish that originated in Quebec and consists of French fries, brown gravy and cheese curds, you can get it at almost any greasy spoon in Canada and some international fast food giants have even picked it up, distributing their own version. Well my version is just a tad better than those gross fast food chains, first I started with some crispy hand cut fries. To bring the fries to their crispy potential, I first soaked them in some warm water to remove some of the starches, than I dried them off and dredged them in a cornstarch slurry (wow does that word sound gross), then they’re baked at a high temperature so you end up with an incredibly crisp coated fry. With a little help from Tofu N Sproutz, I came up with a thick, rich, brown gravy to pour over top. I got a little lazy with the cheese and just used some Daiya, I figured making two things from scratch was my threshold for effort.
This was so good!!! So much so that I feel like adding extra exclamations points!!! The fries were some of the best I’ve made, thick, crispy perfection. The cheese was all creamy and melty, and the gravy, oh the gravy (swoon), this right here is what greasy dreams are made of. As gung ho as I was about this, I have to admit that it was so filling that I couldn’t finish all of mine and gave the extra to P…who happily accepted.
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy margarine
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 cups water
- 3 teaspoons vegan beef bouillon
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
- 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded or cubed
- 1/4 cup vegan pepperjack, shredded or cubed
- Prepare the french fries by adjusting the oven rack to the lowest position and preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, into 10 to 12 even wedges.
- Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak for 10 minutes (this releases some of the starch in the potatoes and lets them absorb moisture, which leads to crisp outsides and moist interiors).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Evenly toss the potatoes with the cornstarch, than add the oil, salt and pepper.
- Arrange the fries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and toss the fries to loosen and flip them. Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp, about another 20 to 25 minutes longer. Rotate the pan as necessary to help them brown evenly. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.
- While the fries are baking, prepare the gravy. Sauté onion with a bit of oil until it begins to brown. Add the water, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Simmer over low heat until reduced to about 2 cups.
- Strain broth mixture through a sieve into a bowl; press the onions to get all the liquid out and then discard solids. Or if you’d prefer a more oniony gravy, blend the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium-high heat. Add the flour, and mix with margarine to form a roux. Stirring constantly, cook a few minutes or until the flour begins to turn slightly brown. Turn heat down to low, then slowly mix in 1/4 cup of the broth at a time, whisking thoroughly between each addition.
- Turn heat back up to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to bring it to a simmer. Whisking constantly, simmer the gravy until it thickens. Adjust seasonings to taste. Mix in Kitchen Bouquet, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add a little at a time until desired color is reached.
- To serve, place fries on plate and sprinkle with cheese (if you don’t have both kinds of cheese, just use one or the other). While still warm, pour gravy over fries and cheese. Let cheese melt slightly and enjoy!
Although I made a hell of alotta Canadian recipes, I’m a little sad I wasn’t able to make everything I was hoping too, there were just too many! And don’t think for one second that I’ve given up on those butter tarts, I’m hoping to revisit those little buggers as soon as we get closer to Christmas. I hope you all enjoyed Vegan Mofo this year! I had a great time finding new blogs and catching up on some of my old favorites, now the only questions is, what am I going to do with all this free time?!