Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All You Need Is Cheese Poutine

If you had a chance to read my previous post on my experience at the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off last month, you'll understand just how lucky we are in Canada are to have such a wide range of different types of cheese produced right here in our own beautiful country. Though Canada produces around 1000 different types of 100% Canadian cheese, there is one type that has become somewhat iconic with Canadian food culture, and that would be the humble cheese curd.

Cheese curds are the solid parts of soured milk, which yes, makes them sound grossly unappetizing, but if you've ever tasted cheese curds, you'll know just how wonderful they truly are. With their firm texture that gives way to a delightful "squeak" when bitten into, and their meltability when heated, cheese curds are totally addictive when eaten on their own, but become something both magical and completely gluttonous when paired, as they traditionally are here in Canada, with crispy french fries and hot-from-the-stove gravy to make poutine.

Upon leaving the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off, I was thrilled to discover a fresh package of cheese curds from the Cheese Boutique in my generous swag bag. I have always wanted to make poutine from scratch, but for whatever reason had not previously attempted to make the Quebec classic. With beautiful, high-quality curds from Toronto's favourite cheese shop on hand, it was time to make poutine from scratch.
Remember, the squeakiest curds are the freshest curds, so be sure to eat them the day they were made!
Because I have a bit of a fear of frying on my stove-top, and because I wanted to make this dish sliiightly less gluttonous, I chose to bake my fries in the oven. Even though my fries were oven-baked, I wanted them to get nice and crisp as though they were fried. In order to achieve the optimum amount of crispiness I soaked my cut fries in cold water (and a pinch of a sugar for extra sweetness) for 30-minutes to allow some of the starch from the potatoes to sink to the bottom of the water. I rinsed the soaked potatoes to remove any excess starch, and dried them as much as I possibly could with clean kitchen towels. A quick toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of paprika and my fries were ready to hit the parchment-lined pan and go into the hot oven.

While my fries were baking, I whipped up Chuck Hughes easy homemade poutine gravy. Though Chuck recommends using a good-quality veal stock, I only had beef stock on hand, which proved to be a great alternative! With the addition of chopped shallots, garlic, ketchup, cider vinegar, peppercorns, and Worcestershire sauce, Chuck's gravy had a great full flavour and a good spoon-coating texture that would grip the fries and cheese curds nicely.

I was so happy with how my first attempt at homemade poutine turned out! The gravy was so much easier than I ever thought it would be (and turned out so tasty!), and the cheese curds were just plain glorious! Though poutine isn't exactly an every-day kind of dish, it was such a nice treat to get to indulge in, especially with the satisfaction of knowing I made it all by myself!

Click here to get Chuck Hughes recipe for Chuck's Awesome Poutine

Let me know how you liked the recipe! Tweet me on Twitter: @thisgingerrose.
Listening To:
Radiohead - Daydreaming 
This album!!! SO GOOD!

No comments: