Montreal just happens to be hoarding two of my favorite things: my sister and poutine.
Two weekends ago I got to visit with my lovely big sis when she planned a “Cottage Weekend” away in Vermont. These getaways are popular among her Canuck friends and they usually involve full days of skiing followed by comfy downtime in sweatpants and lots (and lots and lots!) of wine. It was a beautiful weekend and I got my much needed sister time.
Side note: Sisters are the best... especially mine. I'm lucky enough to have grown up with two special ladies who have shaped me into who I am today. I believe it's the mark of a good sibling when you can credit most of your positive attributes to them. I'm grateful we grew up in a small house that obligated us to share a room. Within those walls we laughed, we cried, we divulged secrets, we listened to dirty lyrics on the radio, and we became the best of friends.
Parents may raise us, but siblings shape us.
Back to the food.
I followed that Canadian-filled Vermont weekend with yet another Northern-inspired activity this past weekend: my first attempt at poutine.
All I can say is HOLY GRAVY!!!
The baked fries, the schmelty melty cheese, the slight punch of fresh thyme & smokey paprika mixed with the rich sauce… Guys, don’t think twice about this. Just make it ASAP.
serves 4 (or 2 two gluttons)
2 rustic potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
2 c chicken broth
2 Tbl flour
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 to 2 cups fontina cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 450º.
Halved your potatoes and then slice lengthwise so each piece is approximately the same size and thickness. This helps the fries bake evenly.
Place on a stoneware baking sheet or a regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt + pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the fries half way through. You may need to bake them a bit longer depending on your oven. Be sure they are nice and roasty toasty.
While the potatoes are baking, begin the gravy. Chop your small onion (or half of a large onion as I did). In a small pot over med-hi heat, drizzle two rounds of olive oil and add the chopped onion. Sauté until slightly translucent.
Sprinkle in the 2 Tbl of flour and mix until combined. Add in the chicken broth. Uncovered, let the gravy come to a boil. Continue cooking until the mixture has reduced by half and becomes thick. Be sure to whisk every 5 minutes.
When the gravy has thickened add in salt, pepper, and a dash of smoked paprika.
Remove baked fries from oven. Turn down the oven temperature to 350º. Begin to assemble the poutine.
In an oven-safe dish place a layer of fries. Sprinkle with thyme and crumbled fontina cheese. Generously drizzle with gravy.
Repeat until the dish is full and your fries are used up. Place back in the oven for 5-8 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
Serve immediately. Be sure to have lots and lots of napkins on hand. And wine. Or beer. And lick your fingers… don’t waste any of that delicious gravy.