I have been thinking about making sweet potato poutine for some time now. I love, adore, (basically insert any positive word here) poutine. Imagine, I had no idea it existed until I was 22 years old! How did I survive all those years without it? When, I moved to Montreal for grad school, I discovered this Quebecois delight and have been a die-hard fan ever since. There is a tiny place on St. Laurent and Rachel called Patati Patata that makes delicious poutine. When my husband and I spent my birthday weekend in Montreal, despite overeating to no end, we HAD to make a stop there to get some poutine.
Let me tell you, poutine is an indulgence! Fries slathered in gravy and covered with ooey gooey stringy cheese curds is not exactly classified as a health food. So, when you are able to eat poutine, enjoy it, enjoy every last bite. Because you will most certainly be in food euphoria. It is an absolute street food, nothing fancy or pretentious, though many have tried escalating it to haute cuisine. If you are interested in foie gras poutine then definitely make a stop at Au Pied Du Cochon or with lobster at Garde Manger. That is all well and good but there is just something about the street version that is on its own level.
Listen to me lecturing about authentic street poutine, when I myself have adulterated the original version here. I mean, there are no special occasions for me at least until Valentines day. Thus, I have to hone in the indulgences, just a bit. Not to say that I have made diet-friendly poutine. This is still a treat, but just slightly better for your health. I bake the sweet potatoes in olive oil and herbs and make a chicken stock based gravy. There is no compromise on the cheese curds. I was so happy I found them this week because I see them very sporadically at my grocer. I wanted to get the white curds, but they only had orange. I guess beggars can not be choosers. The cheese curds have an almost squeaky, rubbery texture but when they fully melt with the fries and gravy they become absolutely divine. Once you have poutine once you will surely be hooked.
Sweet Potato Poutine
No Recipes has a version here
Serves 2 (by itself or 3 as a side)
2 sweet potatoes, cut into fries (soaked in ice-cold water and then dried with a paper towel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
fresh black pepper, to taste
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 sprig thyme, chopped
Handful of cheese curds (as much as you like)
chives, for garnish
For the gravy:
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch (or flour)
2 cups of chicken stock (homemade is best, if you are vegetarian you can use vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the sheet tray in the oven. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. When the oven is ready put the sweet potatoes on the preheated sheet tray and cook for about 10-15 minutes. For the last 2-3 minutes put the oven on broil so they can get crispy.
Make the gravy by heating a small saucepan with the olive oil and then adding half the butter and shallots. Allow to sweat for a few minutes and then add the garlic and the thyme and rosemary. Mix the cornstarch or flour with one cup of the chicken stock and pour into the sauce pan. Mix it all together and add the remaining chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil and allow to thicken. Turn to low heat and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the gravy through a sieve, twice. Add in the remaining butter so that the gravy glistens.
It is nice to use a cylindrical shape serving vessel for the poutine. Assemble it by putting some sweet potatoes on the bottom and putting half the cheese over them and pouring half the gravy on top and then layering the rest of the sweet potatoes and cheese curds and then the rest of the gravy on top. Sprinkle with some fleur de sel and chives. Serve hot.