Why don’t people Â ever get tired of eatingÂ fries? Every bar, diner and restaurant has it on their menu and every fast food chain all over the world tips over tons of this fried root vegetable for customers who seem to eat thru a tub of them like it was peanuts. Americans typically slobber it with ketchup and most Belgians like it dipped in an assortment of flavoured mayonnaise. Generally, Europeans prefer it with mustard, but the French Canadians love it with gravy. Yep, gravy! As if there wasnâ€™t enough grease in a platter of these golden fried taters.
It was one of those nights when everyone ends up at someoneâ€™s houseÂ Â after a night of rampage and youâ€™re all just about smashed and famished to bits and piecesÂ but thereâ€™s not a thing in the fridge other than butter, beer and some dodgey eggs. Hosted by a good a friend in Banff, Alberta for a bit, I roomed in with 3 guys who all worked nights. Basically, we lived on take-out food. And on this one night, they wanted wings and Poutine. Eh? Poutine … whatâ€™s that? Being Asian and a completely clueless foreigner in Canada, I had to double back on that order from my friend because I had no idea what on earth that was. His brief explanation was fries with gravy and cheese. I was too drunk to even understand that concept but, I was pretty darn curious to find out.
Orders arrived and in that styro pack wrapped in foil, was the mysterious Poutine.Â It was heavy and steaming hot and my roomie peeled the foil back and voila! Thick golden steak fries bathed in light brown gravy and melted curds of cheese, sprinkled with bacon bits. I just drooled at first glance at this lovely mess! It certainly has no nutritional value … but it goes down sooooooo good!
This is totally Canadian bar and diner fare… and one of their most loved comfort food.Â Many have come up with their own adaptations of this basic chips and gravy dish, adding on a variety of other ingredients to amp up the flavour.
Itâ€™s origins in Quebec states the word Poutine was referred to a tale of a man named Fernand Lachance who once said â€“ â€œca va faire une maudite poutineâ€.. which translates to â€œit will be a mess?â€ Now you go figure that one out. Pretty spot on, eh?
Hereâ€™s myown take on this dish and donâ€™t even bother counting the calories. Just charge it to experience and blame them Â crazy Canadians !
6 large potatoes (cut up in half inch thick wedges)
3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
4 tbsp Fresh Chives (finely chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to season
1 cup beef stock
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cups cheese curds
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
Â½ cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
12 strips of bacon (cut in fairly small pieces, about 1 inch long)
Â½ cup strips of Roasted red and yellow peppers
2 dollops of sour cream
- Render your bacon until crisp.Â Set aside cooked pieces and place to drip on a paper towel to get rid of excess fat.Â
- Pre-heat your oven. In a bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary and chives and toss in the potato wedges. Coat them well. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake them til they are crispy outside and golden. Make sure to turn them to evenly crisp the wedges. When done, set aside and arrange in a baking dish.
- Layer the baked wedges with grated cheddar and grated mozzarella cheese and throw it back into the oven and broil it to melt the cheese. Remove from oven soon as cheese starts to bubble.
- Melt the butter in the pan with a spoonful o bacon fat. Stir in flour and make a roux.Â Gradually add your beef and chicken stock and wine. Whisking the roux constantly to a boil until you achieve a nice thin gravy. Season with salt and pepper.
- Itâ€™s time for the finale: Â With your fries all crisp with a layer of melted cheese, spoon over the gravy Â and pile on the cheese curds all over and then sprinkle the bacon strips.Â Top it with a layer of roasted peppers and finish it off with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of finely chopped chives. Serve immediately!
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