While scrolling on the social media app, a video from the creator @quangtran_superpumped popped up where he laid out all the steps to make "the best Canadian poutine ever, eh?" and as I watched, I thought to myself, "This is something I can do."
So, I watched his video about five more times, made my ingredient list, set off to my nearest grocery store and once I had everything I needed, I attempted to do the damn thing.
Here's how it went down.
Yukon Gold potatoes being cut into fry shape.
The first step in Tran's video is to put some potatoes through a potato slicer, but since I do not have one of those, I very carefully sliced four medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes into fry form.
As per his directions, I rinsed off the cut potato twice and then dried them off on a baking sheet with some kitchen towel.
Potatoes frying in oil. Right: Twice-fried fries.
Next up was the frying part, which I'll admit made me nervous — and I didn't quite follow Tran's instructions, so I wasn't sure how they'd turn out.
Tran recommended adding a couple of inches of oil to a large pot, waiting 20 minutes to get the oil good and hot and then placing a wooden chopstick in the oil to make sure it created bubbles, which is how you know the oil is hot enough.
I don't fry food often and I didn't want to waste my sunflower oil (groceries are expensive), so I added about two centimetres of oil to my pan, waited until I could physically feel the heat of it when I placed my hand a few inches above it, and decided that was good enough.
I fried the potatoes for eight minutes in batches to avoid crowding the pan and stirred them so each side could brown.
I then let them rest and dabbed off some of the excess oil before frying again for 10 minutes, which gets them nice and crispy. Towards the end of the 10 minutes some of the fries started getting a touch too dark, so you'll need to keep an eye on everything to avoid frying them to death.
I patted the excess oil off, put them in a bowl, tossed them with salt and quite honestly, they were delicious and I was impressed with myself.
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For the gravy, I tried to follow Tran's recipes but I ran into a few snags.
The first step was to two melt two clumps of butter, whisk in five tablespoons of flour and let it cook until chocolate brown. I let it cook for a good 15 minutes but it never darkened past a golden yellow and I decided I was over it and made the executive decision to move on.
The rest of Tran's recipe calls for stirring in:
- two cups beef stock
- two tablespoons duck fat
- 1/2 tablespoon beef concentrate
- one teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- one teaspoon paprika
The most interesting ingredient for me was the duck fat, which I've never used before (and didn't actually know was a thing you could buy). I added everything but that in and gave it a taste, which I found to be delicious, but after adding the duck fat, it took the gravy to a whole new level.
It made the sauce much richer in a way that's hard to describe, kind of like how a sprinkle of salt brings out flavours in a way that's difficult to put words to.
It also added a richer texture and I think it tightened the gravy up a bit, but that perhaps could be because I left it on the heat for a bit longer to let all the flavours meld together.
The finished dish
Sarah's finished poutine.
I put about half of my fries in a pretty bowl I bought from Dollarama, added some cheese curds that I bought packaged from the grocery store and ladled some of the gravy over the whole thing. I then added the rest of my fries and topped it up with more curds and gravy.
Guys, it was so delicious. The fries were delightfully crispy and I think frying them twice helped to insulate them from the gravy sogging them down. The gravy wasn't as thick as other poutines I've had, but it coated and stuck to the fries and was absolutely scrumptious. I think if I let the gravy simmer a bit longer it would have reduced to the right consistency, but I was hungry and impatient, so it's my own fault.
Getting a bite of crispy fries, gooey curd and rich gravy was a delight, and I couldn't believe this was something I made on my own.
To be fair, I think any fried potato with sauce and cheese would likely be tasty, but I'm proud of my efforts!
If I were to make this again, I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble of making the fries myself as I feel like you can get similarly delicious results from frozen fries, but if you want do it all from scratch, it's pretty simple, just a bit of a slog to deal with the oil.
I will say this landed me into food coma territory after my partner and I polished it off, but that's kind of expected once you've demolished such heavy foods.
Overall, this was easy, delicious and super satisfying, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how damn good it turned out. I 10/10 recocomend giving this a try if you love poutine!