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Cook with Brooke: Poutine 4 ways

Poutine – a classic, French Canadian dish recognisable world over. Made from chips or fries, cheese curd, and dark brown gravy, we Canadians go crazy for it.

Though it’s often regarded as a no frills dish, frois gras, duck confit and pulled pork are just some of the niceties that are being added to this classic in recent years.

This recipe is a pretty simple version. But if you have those extras lying around, by all means, use them!

In the absence of real Canadian cheese curd, we’re using a mix of two cheeses: halloumi and shredded mozzarella. These two are the next best thing to having the real Canadian version.

Last but not least, because this is Poutine done four ways, we’re going to serve it with a mix of baked and fried chips (or french fries, whatever you call ’em). Feel free to use whatever mixture of chips and cheese you want. My personal favourite is baked chips with halloumi, but to each their own.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Gravy
6 tbsp flour
3 stock cubes
3 tbsp jam
9-15 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 lemons
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 bunch of Rosemary
1 onion
6-9 rashers of bacon
Salt & pepper to taste
2-3 litres of boiling water

Chips
1 large potato per person, plus 1 extra for the pot
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp of black pepper
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

For frying
1.5 litres of sunflower oil

Cheese
1-2 cups of mozzarella
1-2 cups of halloumi

Method

Start by making the gravy.

Slice the bacon and onions. Place in a pre-heated frying pan or sauce pan on high heat. Add a bunch of rosemary. You want the heat to be quite high so the mixture sears to the bottom of the pan and creates a crust. If yours turns out liquid-y from the onions, just crank the heat up for a few minutes.

Remove the mixture to a bowl and discard.

Keeping your pan on high heat, add about a half a cup of boiling water. Adding the water to the hot pan should loosen the bits off the bottom. Make sure you scrape the bits off as you go.

After a few minutes, the water you’ve just added should cook down and become thick. Next, crumble in your stock cube and add a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Add the flour to the pan, whisking continuously. You want to cook the flour out and make sure it’s fully incorporated, roughly 1-2 minutes.

Gradually start adding water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, while whisking. You want to use the water to thin out the flour/stock mixture. If you add too much water at once, it will become clumpy.

Once it starts to develop a good consistency, taste it to see what’s missing. You might find it quite bland at this point. This is when we want to start adding the flavours in.

Add in more Worcestershire sauce. (I tend to add 5-6 tablespoons. You can add more, depending on how you like it.)

Add in a couple of tablespoons or soy sauce, and a tablespoon of jam. Gradually add these ingredients, whisking so they become fully incorporated. Season the gravy with salt and pepper, and hit it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Taste it again, and add in more of what’s missing. If it needs more salt add it, if it’s not flavourful enough consider adding in more Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. You may wish to add another cube stock if you find the flavours aren’t strong enough.

Leave the gravy to simmer on medium low heat while you cook the potatoes. You will need to keep adding water to the gravy as it will thicken quite a bit whilst you cook your chips. Just add it in a tablespoon at a time so you don’t over-water it.

Next, slice your potatoes into 1/4 inch wedges. Rinse in cold water to remove all the extra starch, and lay flat to dry on a towel. Try to absorb as much water from the potatoes as possible, otherwise they won’t cook properly.

Take half of the potato wedges and place in a large bowl. Add in oil, salt and pepper and toss until fully coated. Arrange on parchment paper on a baking sheet – making sure the potatoes don’t touch or overlap. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Remove from oven and turn. Continue to bake in the oven for another 10 minutes. If you need to do it in batches, just leave the cooked potatoes on a plate covered in foil.

To fry the chips, fill a large sauce pot with 1.5 bottles of sunflower oil. Turn it onto medium high heat, and allow to warm up for 10-15 minutes. Take one potato wedge and place it carefully into the pot, just to see how quickly it comes to a sizzle. You want the oil to be quite hot to cook the potatoes properly. Carefully add the potatoes in, one batch at a time, and stir to make sure they don’t stick together whilst they fry. (I often use a bowl and oven glove to place the potatoes into the hot oil).

Whilst the chips are baking and frying, chop up the halloumi into chunks and rinse under cold water in a colander to get rid of any excess salt.

Once the potatoes are fully fried, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered in paper towel. Season immediately with salt and pepper.

Serve the chips/fries into separate bowls. Cover with your choice of cheese, ladle the hot gravy on top, and enjoy.

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