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Poutine ! Poutine!

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 Resurrecting the reverie of Paul Revere this  foodie’ call to arms is reverberating throughout Quebec this week as we celebrate Annual Poutine Week.

This star of Quebecois cuisine, originated in the late 1950’s  and was delegated  to the ignominious confines of country food shacks, diners and many greasy spoons….No more!

Since its birth it has gone through many incarnations with over 30 restaurants in Montreal now featuring it on their menus with their many ‘gourmet’ versions, including the much lauded and heart wrenching foie gras poutine  served at Martin Picard’s Au Pied Du Cochon restaurant

The original dish, often used to stigmatize Quebec culture and society, consisted of a simple mix of French fries, cheese curds and a robust beef flavored gravy.

The popularity of poutine has not only spread across Canada, where it has now been embraced as one of Canada’s national dishes, it can also be found in many parts of the North Eastern US…Poutine has gone international!

Poutine is the ultimate junk food and is said to be the ideal elixir after a heavy night of drinking!

In a recent survey it even out ranked such inventions of the electron microscope and The Blackberry taking its place among the most significant top 10.

Poutine Week is in progress in Montreal until February 7th so file your doctor’s advice  and casting all warnings aside and boldly venture out to one of our many poutine emporiums and relish in this delicious journey with one of  the truly ultimate excesses of Quebec cuisine.

If you would rather try it at home here are a few varieties you might want to have a go at.

Keep in mind these three prerequisites necessary for any good poutine.

  1. Extra crispy fries
  2. Fresh cheese curds that are not too big
  3. A richly flavored gravy that has the right consistency allowing it to slowly sink to the bottom of all the fries

 SWEET POTATO POUTINE

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Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp flour

2 large shallots, sliced

1 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 cup organic beef stock

handful parsley, minced

pinch of thyme

pinch of brown sugar

1 L peanut oil

1 cup cheese curds

Directions

  1. Push potatoes through a French fry cutter or hand cut so that pieces are uniform in size. Soak in ice water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Heat a pan on medium, melt butter then add flour and whisk vigorously for about 8 minutes until the roux is amber colored. Remove from the heat.
  3. In another pan, lightly sauté shallots in olive oil over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add sea salt and pepper. Deglaze with organic beef stock, add thyme, brown sugar and bring to a simmer.
  4. Whisk in the roux and let reduce on medium low for 15 minutes. Stir in fresh, minced parsley.
  5. Strain chilled sweet potato fries and dry them in a salad spinner. It is important the fries be thoroughly dried before cooking.
  6. Heat peanut oil in a heavy pot on medium-high until oil thermometer reaches 375 degrees F. Fry the potatoes in small batches for 5 minutes, then lay them on a wire rack to drain.
  7. Place the fries on a plate, top with cheese curds and smother with gravy.

DUCK POUTINE

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Ingredients

Poutine

2 large Kennebec potatoes

100 g cheese curds

250 mL Duck Gravy (see below)

2 eggs

50 g green onions, chopped

Stock and Duck Gravy

1 kg duck bones

1 large onion

1 carrot

2 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic

10 whole peppercorns

Directions

Poutine

  1. Blanch potatoes at 350ºF degrees for 25 minutes.
  2. Cut potatoes into fries and crisp for 2.5 minutes.
  3. In a pan, fry eggs sunny side up.
  4. Build your dish, beginning with fries, then curds and Duck Gravy. Top with fried eggs and scallions.

Stock and Duck Gravy

  1. Roast duck bones for 30 minutes in the oven.
  2. Make broth with vegetables and bones for 4 hours. Reduce broth by half, strain and thicken with 1/2 cup cornstarch slurry.

MEAT BALL POUTINE

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Ingredients

Meatballs

1 ½ lb(s) ground pork

1 ½ lb(s) lean ground beef

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

3 clove of garlic minced

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup grated Romano cheese

3 Tbsp of fresh parsley finely chopped

Marinara Sauce

5 medium onions finely diced

5 large cloves of garlic minced

2 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp pepper

½ tsp dried red chili’s

1 large handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

19 oz can tomato paste

2 Tbsp of canola oil

1 diced smoked chorizo sausage

100 oz can of whole plum tomatoes

Assembly

1 bag white cheddar cheese curds

Yukon gold fries (homemade or store-bought)

Directions

Meatballs

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Roll the mixture into small meatballs.
  3. Put meatballs aside until sauce is ready.

Marinara Sauce

  1. Sauté all of the above ingredients until onions are soft.
  2. Add chorizo sausage.
  3. Add whole plum tomatoes and crush the tomatoes gently so they are not whole.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil and then add in meatballs.
  5. Simmer for 2 hours.

Assembly

  1. Place freshly cooked Yukon gold fries in dish.
  2. Top fries with 2 ounces of cheddar cheese curds.
  3. Take 3 meatballs from the sauce and place on top of fries.
  4. Top the plate with 3-4 ounces of marinara sauce and drizzle with basil oil.
  5. Finally dust with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve.

 

SHWARMA POUTINE

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Ingredients

Fries and Eggplant

2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into thick fries

2 Chinese eggplants, cut into thick rounds

3 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

Shawarma Chicken

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp salt

⅛ tsp ground black pepper

Gravy

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour or cornstarch

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp za’atar or baharat

½ tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

Toppings & Assembly

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp minced fresh red chili

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

Directions

Fries and Eggplant

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. On one baking sheet, toss potatoes and eggplant with olive oil and salt. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Shawarma Chicken

  1. On second baking sheet, toss all shawarma ingredients. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (put in oven halfway through baking fries and eggplant), until cooked through.

Gravy

  1. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until foamy. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth followed by sumac, za’atar or baharat, lemon juice and salt. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 2 minutes.

Toppings & Assembly

  1. Layer fries, eggplant and chicken on plates or shallow bowls, and top with gravy, feta, cilantro and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Serve.

 

SPICY LAMB POUTINE

 poutine6Ingredients

Mergues Sausage

1 lb(s) boneless lamb shoulder, diced (preferably with attached fat)

¾ cup (6 oz) lamb fat (or substitute with beef fat)

2 lamb casings

3 Tbsp (3-6 cloves) fresh garlic, minced

¼ cup harissa sauce (Tunisian hot sauce)

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ground (or 3/4 teaspoon for mild sausage)

1 Tbsp fennel seeds, ground

1 Tbsp curry powder

2 Tbsp oregano

Poutine Gravy

4 cup beef gravy (or substitute with veggie)

1 tsp canola oil

Fries

12 medium potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold)

12 cup canola oil

Poutine Assembly

1 lb(s) cheese curds, white cheddar

4-6 sprigs parsley, for garnish

Directions

Mergues Sausage

  1. In a large bowl toss diced lamb shoulder, lamb fat, garlic, salt, fennel seeds, harissa, cayenne pepper, oregano, and black pepper.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2-3 hours at room temperature so that flavors can blend.
  3. Uncover bowl and stir ingredients one more time.
  4. Using a meat grinder, grind meat.
  5. The meat is now ready to be stuffed in sausage machine. Set machine to desired length and thickness.

Note: 8-inch sausages work best for this recipe.

Poutine Gravy

  1. In a pot, bring gravy to simmer. Stir frequently and be sure to not let bottom burn.
  2. While gravy is cooking, add oil to frying pan. Warm on stove over high-medium heat. Add sausages to pan and cook for 15-20 minutes (depending on thickness). Turn sausages over every 4-5 minutes so that all sides cook evenly.
  3. Remove sausage from pan. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. Allow gravy to simmer until ready to plate.

Fries

  1. Peel potatoes and cut them lengthwise from top to bottom so that they are 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Fill a large pot or deep fryer with oil. Heat the oil to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Exercise caution since oil is extremely hot.
  3. Once the oil is heated, blanch potatoes for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove potatoes from oil and let them cool for 30 minutes.
  5. Increase oil temperature to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Return potatoes to boil and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden.

 Poutine Assembly

  1. Layer each plate with fries. Add sausage and cheese curds. Pour gravy to taste over top. Garnish with 1 sprig of parsley per plate.

FOIE GRAS POUTINE

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Ingredients

For the Foie Gras Sauce

200 g (7 oz) fresh foie gras

6 egg yolks

600 mL (2 ½ cups) PDC poutine sauce

( use store-bought poutine sauce)

50 mL (¼ cup) 35% m.f. cream

For the Foie Gras and Presentation

4 slices slices fresh foie gras, 100 g (3 1/2 oz) each, 2 ½ cm (1 in) thick

400 g (14 oz) cheese curds

4 white-fleshed potatoes (cut into French fries)

Oil for frying (2/3 tallow and 1/3 peanut oil)

Directions

For the Foie Gras Sauce

  1. Set aside 100 ml (½ cup of sauce for final presentation of the poutine.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the PDC poutine sauce to a boil.
  3. Mix the egg yolks, foie gras and cream in a food processor at high speed.
  4. Slowly add the 500 ml (2 cups) of hot poutine sauce to the mixture.
  5. Pour into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until the sauce reaches 80°C {175 °F).
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir for 30 seconds more. Keep warm.

For the Foie Gras and Presentation

  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F). In a very hot pan, sear the foie gras slices until they are golden brown. Transfer the slices to a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Cook the fries in the oil until crisp and place them on top of a mound of cheese curds in the middle of the plate.
  3. Place a slice of seared foie gras on the fries and smother in the foie gras sauce.
  4. Decorate with a few dabs of regular poutine sauce and serve immediately.

Recipes and images courtesy of www.thefoodnetwork.ca

 

 

 

About Michael Minorgan

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