Let me paint you a picture. Follow me on this escapade…

It’s a Friday night and you’re painting the town red. You’re having a fantastic evening; hangin’ with your friends, chattin’ up the ladies at the bar (or males at the bar). It’s getting kind of late. Your friend turns to you and she says she’s starving; craving some poutine, to be exact. Poutine, brilliant! It would fill the void your soul in the most perfect way. Unfortunately, according to your iPhone, the nearest poutinerie is nowhere near your current location and you’re not gonna settle for just any fly-by-night bar slop. Since you are a person of dignity, you cut your losses and head home… unsatisfied. This was what I experienced this weekend.

I woke up Saturday mid-afternoon with poutine still on my mind. It had to be done… and done right. I wasn’t skimping on any ingredients, since I had to make up for my suffering the night prior. I stumbled upon a Cumbrae’s, a local butcher shop serving meat from local family farmers. I was in heaven with their magnificent selection. Although there was not a huge volume of meat, every cut was of the highest quality. Although, I wanted to spend about a thousand dollars on different cuts of meat, I restrained myself to just purchasing the homemade beef stock (Oh, I’ll be back soon for more). I must have pleased the gods because next door was cheese shop of equal calibre, About Cheese. Although they were out of fresh curds, the gentleman behind the counter was able to recommend the “Frere Jaques”, a cow’s milk cheese from Fromagerie Abbaye Saint-Benoit-Du-Lac, Quebec. It was beautifully mild and soft enough to melt perfectly with the potatoes and gravy.

Ingredients:

10-12 Strips Maple Leaf Bacon

1 Small Onion

4 tbsp All Purpose Flour

2 cups Beef Stock

1 cup White Wine

6 Large Russet Potatoes

2 cups Cheese Curds or any your favourite melting cheese

3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Makes sides for 6 people

Directions

Gravy:


1. Chop up your bacon into relatively small pieces and fry them in a medium sauce-pot until they’re crispy. You should be an expert at this by now. Remove the bacon onto some paper towel with a slotted spoon to leave the rendered fat any anything else that came off in the bottom of the pan.

2. Dice up your onion and fry it in the bacon fat until its super soft and golden. This should take a few minutes. Do this on medium to medium high heat so the onions don’t burn, but cook through.

3. Add your 4 tbsp of flour and mix together thoroughly. If you find that it’s really dry, you can add some oil (or butter, which would be even better) to loosen it up a bit. If you’re keeping track, we’re making a roux just like in our Mac n’ Cheese Recipe. The consistency should be slightly thicker than pancake batter. Continue to stir this on medium or about five minutes. We want to cook some of the flour so it doesn’t have that pasty taste that the raw stuff tends to have.

4. Little by little, add your stock and white wine while using a whisk to stir the roux. Keep whisking until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. If you want to make a larger amount of gravy, the golden ratio is 2 tbsp of fat, 2 tbsp of flour and 1 cup of stock make a nice, thick gravy. I’m making something slightly thinner. Season generously with pepper and cautiously with salt. Most store-bought stocks are really salty. I was using homemade stuff, so I was a bit more liberal with my NaCl (Sodium Chloride).

You can leave this on your backburner on low to keep warm while you make your fries. Remember to stir it periodically so a film doesn’t build up. If it thickens up too much for your liking, you can add a bit of stock, wine or water; it’s your choice.

Fries

These are done the proper way: twice fried!

5. Wash or peel your potatoes. I personally like the flavour and the look of skin-on fries, so I gave my spuds a good scrubbin’.

6. Cut your potatoes into ¼“ sticks (or as big as you like them, really). Just make sure they’re even so they cook evenly. I used a mandolin (not the guitar) so every fry was exactly the same size. They’re not that expensive and they cut down on prep time, especially with veggies.

7. Dump a bunch of vegetable/canola oil into a large pot. If you have a deep fryer, even better. Heat your oil to about 325°F, but not hotter. You can grab a candy/deep-fry thermometer for a couple of bucks. This is essential for perfect fries.

8. Cook your fries in batches for 4-5 minutes in the325°F oil. We want to cook them in batches for a couple reasons: First, we don’t want to dump in a whole bunch of fries and cool our oil right down; Second, we want all the fries to cook evenly. Remove them onto a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Try to keep them in one layer so they dry nicely. At this point, the potatoes should be cooked through, but still soft. We’ll take care of this in a second.

9. Heat up your oil to 375°F. In batches again, throw your potatoes back in. This time, only cook them for 1-2 minutes. This will make them perfectly crispy. Remove them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Once done, toss all of the fries in your rosemary, salt and pepper.

Assembly time!


10. Chop up your cheese into ¼” to ½” cubes. In a small bowl, put your fries, then a layer of cheese, smother in your delectable gravy and top with god’s gift to carnivores: bacon.

I dare you not to try it….