I took my first trip to Canada last year for work. And while I knew I would eat well (Thanks, Epic!), there was one cheap, guilty pleasure that I knew I would get as much as I could. Of course, I’m talking about the combination of crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds, and stick to your ribs gravy that is poutine. There is something so simply comforting about this simple combination of potato, cheese, and beefy flavors, and if you haven’t tried it, I don’t think there’s a better time to try it out than now.
The recipe below is what I used, but definitely feel free to substitute based on what you have on hand. If you don’t live in America’s Dairyland and can’t find cheese curds, you can make your own if you’ve got the time and motivation, or just substitute some pieces of fresh mozzarella. I also include some leftover beef trimmings and fat in my recipe. Essentially, every time that I make a beef roast, steak, or some other dish where I have to trim big pieces of beef fat off the final product, I save the trimmings in a bag in the freezer. This is an automatic game changer when you are making roast potatoes or any dish that you want to just exude beefy, umami flavor. Obviously, if you don’t have this lying around, you can just skip that step and replace with about a tablespoon of olive oil (the only real requirements in this recipe are potatoes, beef stock, and some kind of cheese). But come on, you know you were just looking for an excuse to cook up a giant ribeye this weekend…
For the gravy:
1 cup Leftover beef trimmings and fat, frozen
1/2 Onion, diced
1 stalk Celery, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1/3 cup Flour
4 Tbsp Butter
4 cups Unsalted beef stock
Squeeze of lemon
For the fries:
2-3 Russet potatoes
2-3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 cup Cheese curds
- Preheat oven to 450 F
- Place frozen beef trimmings in food processor and grind until about the size of breadcrumbs. This will help render the fat more quickly and encourage the development of fond.
- Place beef trimmings in saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until fat is rendered and meat is caramelized, 7-10 minutes.
- Add onion, carrot, and celery to pan along with a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter and allow to melt before adding in flour. Whisk constantly to cook out the raw taste of the flour, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in beef stock and whisk vigorously to incorporate with roux. Bring to simmer, then drop heat to low and cook until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Meanwhile, prepare the fries. Cut your potatoes into fries (my advice is to cut them just a little bigger than you want your fries to be). You can peel the potatoes beforehand if you like, but it is not required.
- Rinse the fries under cold water to remove starch. Pat completely dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Place in a bowl and toss with vegetable oil. We want each fry to be coated in oil, but don’t want them swimming in it.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick spray. Place fries down in single layer.
- Place in preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, flip fries, and place back in oven for 25-30 minutes more. Season as soon as they are done (I recommend Lawry’s Seasoned Salt) so the seasoning sticks to the fries.
- Use a strainer or slotted spoon to removed beef and vegetables from gravy. When gravy is at desired thickness, squeeze in a hint of lemon to give it a little more depth of flavor. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Place fries down on plate and top with cheese curds. Ladle over gravy. Grab a fork and enjoy.