Sunday, November 27, 2011

PX: Poutine

Ahhhh Poutine. Designed to be eaten only after massive quantities of alcohol and since the season is upon us, I’ll post this classic, Canadian recipe.

I love French fries so much and the thought of eating them smothered in gravy and cheese curds kind of made me want to take a pass.

I made mine with Velouté sauce and cheddar cheese curds. I’ve seen it with clear gravy and brown gravy and some people use the white cheese curds instead of the cheddar. No matter what – call it what you like – it’s good, old fashioned, hangover food.

And while I’m chowing down and enjoying it believe it or not, I suddenly remember I forgot to drink a little too much wine last night. Well, there’s always tonight.

After all, it is the holidays (they start on my birthday – November 20th) so no need for an excuse until January 2nd.

Besides that, I’ve already made my excuse list for January.

Bon Appetit!

Poutine Basics:

Prepare french-fries, approximately 2 cups into a serving bowl.
Drop 1/2 C of cheddar cheese curds on top of the fries.
Ladle 1 cup of sauce (while hot) on top of the fries and cheese.
Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes, permitting the sauce and cheese to work together.

First, you’ve got to make the PERFECT French Fries…

2 lb. Burbank russet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled if you like
2 to 3 quarts canola oil or peanut oil
Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
Cut each potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick disks, then cut these disks lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick sticks. Try to keep your cuts uniform so the potatoes cook evenly.

Soak the potato sticks in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the potatoes in 3 changes of fresh cold water, draining after each rinse. Let the potatoes dry in a single layer on a towel-lined baking sheet.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pot that holds at least 6 quarts over medium heat until it reaches 330°F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Blot the potatoes completely dry with more towels. Gently drop one-third of the potatoes into the oil and increase the heat to medium high (the oil temperature will drop to about 300°F and then gradually rise—it’s fine if it doesn’t return to 330°F). Cook, stirring occasionally with a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, until the potatoes soften (you should be able to cut them with the side of the spoon) and are slightly blistered and creamier in color (remove them if they start to brown), 2 to 3 minutes.
Scoop out the potatoes, shaking them to drain off excess oil, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels, arranging them in a single layer. Fry the remaining 2 batches of potatoes in the same manner, letting the oil return to 330°F before each batch.
Heat the oil until it reaches 360°F. Add one-third of the potatoes and cook, stirring, until they turn golden-brown and become crisp (to test, carefully drain one on paper towels and try it), 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the fries to a baking sheet lined with fresh paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Fold the edges of the paper towels up and over the fries (to make a little pouch) and shake well so the salt is evenly distributed. Serve the fries immediately. Fry the remaining 2 batches of fries in the same manner, letting the oil return to 360°F before each batch.

Velouté Sauce

1 quart stock: chicken or veal
2 ounces flour
2 ounces butter or oil

Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan.
Combine the fat and flour, cook over high heat, stirring until you have a pale roux (2-3 minutes).

Whip the roux into the stock. Simmer (30-40 min), skimming the surface every 5-10 minutes.

Strain the sauce through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Salt and pepper to taste.