I apologize for hijacking my blog about animals to do a recipe/meal post, but this is too good to keep to myself. Jim & I read about Poutine a while back when we were planning our trip to Disney World and were looking at a restaurant in the Canadian Pavillion. Le Cellier is supposed to be a traditional Canadian restaurant and we were intrigued by an item that was composed of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. Now WHAT could be bad about that? It also sounded easy…until we started looking for cheese curds. What are cheese curds you ask? Cheese curds are the fresh curds of cheese, often cheddar. Their flavor is mild with about the same firmness as cheese, but has a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into. OK, I copied that from the interwebs, but you can basically call them the first step in making most cheeses. They taste like cheese in its purest form and they have a fresh saltiness that makes it hard to stop eating them. The only problem is that they were no where to be found in my vicinity. I was able to find out that the Kroger in Opelika could get them but I had to order them. So I did, and two days later when they arrived I drove 50 miles to get my curds (OK, I did stop into a couple of flea markets since I was in the area). These happened to come in 5 oz. snack packages and we tore one open immediately to sample the curds.
Made in Wisconsin–THE CHEESE CURD STATE!
Yes they were yummy right out of the bag. So we were ready to proceed. The first step is to make French fries. I have a crazy recipe for fries and mine are EXCELLENT if I do say so myself. I read this recipe in a great book, THE MAN WHO ATE EVERYTHING by Jeffrey Steingarten. He remarked that is the invention of Chef Joël Robuchon. If you’re a food snob (or just obsessed like Jim & moi) Then you’ve heard this guy’s name. If you haven’t then just know this guy is a fancy French chef who has a dozen restaurants around the world with a combined 28 Michelin stars among them. His recipe is basically this… You put the fries in COLD oil, turn it up high and cook them til they’re done. Well, there is a bit more to it (below) but it works every time, and makes the best fries we’ve ever eaten. Here’s our method…
I use my very cheap but functional mandolin to cut McDonald-sized fries.
Jim makes me wear oven mitts to avoid costly ER visits.
Soak them in very salty cold water for about 1-2 hours.
Dry them well with dish towels getting off all excess liquid.
Now for the cray cray part.
Put them in a heavy pot and pour peanut oil to cover about 1/2 inch.
Turn your heat up high and let the magic happen.
Keep an eye on them and stir them just enough to keep any from sticking on the bottom. After about 25 minutes you begin to see something that actually looks like Fries.
Let them brown just a bit more.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and try not to eat them all before you’ve assembled the Poutine.
Jim had made a killer pot roast the night before so we had some of his fabulous gravy heating on the stove.
I wish this blog had SMELLAVISION.
And this part is not traditional but what the heck!
He shredded some of the pot roast to add to the dish.
So you have your fries all hot and ready so you plate them and add the curds. It’s best to have the curds at room temp because you want the heat of the fries and the gravy to melt them a bit.
The master at work.
Next, you pour the hot gravy on top, grab your red wine and head to the coffee table to watch BIG BANG reruns while you pig out on Poutine!
It was sooooo good! Now that I have a “curd connection” I’ll be keeping these babies in the house all the time in case we have a Poutine emergency. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that after we ate this giant pile of cheesy, fried goodness. Jim got a wild hair and decided to fry some curds in the French fry oil.
Oh no he DI’ INT!
Yes, he did. And yes, we ate ’em. 🙂
And just so this blog post qualifies to appear in the KITTYBUNNYCHICKEN, here’s a picture of my awesome backsplash mural. 🙂