Not sure if you've heard, but Poutine is making it's way to the US. I had no idea what this was until I saw the recipe in Cooking Light magazine. I'm also not sure how this recipe can be "light" when it features french fries crisped up in duck fat, a sausage gravy, and cheese curds. Oh, the sausage is supposed to be 50% less fat; that must be it.
Poutine is a dish that originated in Quebec, Canada in the late 1950's. It is diner food. It is so popular, in fact, that McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King all serve it in their restaurants in Canada! In it's simplest form, it consists of french fries, with a brown gravy and cheese curds. Doesn't sound very appetizing, but the recipe in Cooking Light for Poutine had me curious.
I probably wouldn't have ventured to make this recipe if it wasn't for the fact of finding delicious cheese curds on sale at the Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon. AND, to make things even better, I saw this package of Rillettes at the creamery. Again, with my naivety in full swing, I thought to myself...I know this is basically pate, but there seems to be this layer of fat on top. I need that layer of fat to cook the french fries for Poutine! So I bought it with high hopes of making an authentic Canadian fast food dish.
Once I opened the package of Rillettes, I knew I was going to be in for a battle. The layer of fat on top was anorexic-ally thin and trying to just get the fat and not the pate was impossible. So then I thought, what would be the harm if the potato strips were cooked in the duck fat with a little essence of pate! I tossed the cut potato pieces in my mess of fat/pate and crisped them up in the oven. Most of the pieces stuck to the baking sheet, but the ones that didn't (probably were the ones coated with more duck fat), crisped up BEAUTIFULLY and tasted amazing. While those were cooking, I made the simple gravy of butter, flour, beef broth, and pork sausage (50% reduced fat, remember), to become the topping of the fries. As soon as both components were done, I covered the fries with the gravy and sprinkled on the cheese curds and fresh parsley. Ultimately, it turned into a comforting dish that we gobbled up quickly. It's hard to say that I followed the recipe exactly, since I'm not sure how much the duck pate flavor played into the Poutine, but needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our Canadian creation!