Canadian Vegetarian Poutine
It doesn’t get more Canadian than this comfort food from our neighbors to the north! Historically made with a meat gravy, this version is delicious and doesn’t discriminate against non-meat eaters!
4 medium russet potatoes (unpeeled // or sub sweet potatoes for a savory-sweet poutine!)
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots or 1 medium sweet onion (minced)
1 1/2 cups diced button or cremini mushrooms
1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp cornstarch (can sub all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk or ½ and ½
1-2 tsp worcestershire sauce or ketchup
1-2 cups of cheese (can go with cheddar, mozzarella or gruyere)
FRIES: Preheat oven to 450 degrees and chop potatoes into thin slices by halving lengthwise then cutting into wedges and then strips. For “wedges,” cut into larger pieces - both work the same, but matchsticks cook faster. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper Add fries, oil and salt and toss to coat. Then arrange fries in a single layer, making sure they aren’t overlapping too much. This will help them crisp up and cook evenly. Bake for a total of 25-35 minutes, tossing/flipping at least once to ensure even baking. When the fries are finished, remove from oven and set aside.
GRAVY: While fries are baking, prepare gravy by heating a rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and shallots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add mushrooms, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar. Stir and increase heat to medium high to brown the mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until they are slightly caramelized. Then add the cornstarch and stir to coat. It should look dry at this point - that’s OK. Lower heat to low and slowly add the broth and milk while whisking. It should resemble gravy pretty quickly and should bubble and thicken as it cooks. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until you've reached the desired consistency. Add broth or milk to thin if it becomes too thick.
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth (optional but recommended). Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt and pepper to taste or more Worcestershire for more depth of flavor. Return gravy to stovetop and heat on lowest heat to keep warm.
FOR SERVING: Add all of the baked fries to one baking sheet. Then spread the cheese onto the baked fries. Then place fries back in oven on the top rack on medium-to-low broil so the cheese can melt and get slightly browned. Watch carefully so the fries don't burn - 3-5 minutes. Pour the gravy over top and dig in!