Poutine: Fries, Cheese Curds and Gravy

Poutine photo 438CFBB7-FBC9-4B99-B1B2-FBC562444324_zpsn3hqeu8j.jpg
Fries, gravy and cheese! What's not to like! Poutine is a tasty Canadian dish, made with french fries, topped with a brown gravy and cheese curds. 

A local pub began serving them a few months ago, and topped them with fried crumbled Spam. I couldn't wait to try my hand at making the dish at home.  If you don't have curds available, a cheddar or other sharp cheese would work.

I make my own fries, but store bought frozen, then fried ones would work. I haven't tried oven fries, but fries should be very crispy, so I deep fry.  

Pre-frying fresh fries first, as directed below helps with making them crispy and golden brown on the second frying.

Packets of commercial brown gravy mix are handy for making this recipe, as you just add water, mix and heat until ready to serve.  There's a nearby cheese factory selling curds in our area, so I keep them on hand.  Curds can be purchased online or sometimes found at summer farmer's markets.

Poutine: Fries, Curds and Gravy
1-1/3 cups thickened beef gravy, homemade or commercial
salt & pepper
4 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut for fries
1 cup crumbled cheese curds, or other sharp cheese
Optional: Fried strips of Spam or bacon, crumbled over the top for garnish

For the gravy: in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the 3 Tabs. of butter and 3 Tabs. of flour. Stir until blended. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes for a dark roux. Stir in a can of beef stock and blend. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.  Or use commercial beef gravy canned or a dry mix with water:  heat, then set aside, keeping warm.

Peel potatoes and cut for fries, 4 inches by 1/2-inch. Pre-fry at 250 for 2minutes. Remove, drain and cool. They'll be light brown and limp. Then fry again until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.  Fry in batches and keep warm in a 250 oven.

To serve, mound fries into individual plates or bowls. Spoon gravy over the fries and crumble the cheese curds over the top. Garnish with crumbled fried Spam or bacon.
Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Estimated cost: $5.00 or less.

Thanksgiving Potato Dumplings

PhotobucketOur family has enjoyed these ever since I was a young girl, as we always looked forward to grandma's German Potato Dumplings, which she made once a year at Thanksgiving.  I've made them for over 40 years, and extended family members make them, too, as a tradition.

 I usually make a double or triple batch, as there's always leftover turkey to go with them in the days after Thanksgiving.

I also make other types of dumplings during the year depending on how I serve pork or chicken but these are my "Thanksgiving Dumplings."

Thanksgiving Potato Dumplings
3 medium dry baking potatoes, Idaho if possible
1 beaten egg
Dumplings on Slow Boil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup flour

Boil potatoes with skins on.  Peel and mash while hot. A potato ricer works well, too. Let cool, then add salt, egg and mix well.  Add flour last starting with a 1/2 cup, mixing and adding more until dough holds together and is firm enough to roll into small balls, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches round. They should not feel tacky.

Drop in boiling salted water. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes until done.  When they start to boil, reduce heat and let boil slow. They should float to the top and simmer. Test by cutting in half on plate to see if cooked in the middle.  Don't cook too long or they will fall apart.

Remove with slotted spoon and place in shallow serving dish covered with gravy. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Good with poultry and gravy.

Serves 4.  Double recipe for 8 or triple for 12 servings.
Estimated cost: .52 cents or less;  .13 cents a serving or less.

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich

I first made this recipe back in the late 70s after a friend served it on game night following a local high school football game.

As young mothers with toddlers, we were always looking for frugal, yet attractive recipes to feed several people.  I often made it for our family of five or brought to potlucks.

It's great for game day food, a buffet table, or family meal anytime.

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich
1 unsliced loaf of french bread
1 pound of ground beef
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. Worcestershire
1 Tab. milk
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 thinly sliced tomatoes
1 sliced green pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
softened butter

Cut loaf in half  lengthwise, wrap in foil and heat at 375 oven for 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile brown beef with onion; drain fat.  Stir in sour cream, milk, Worcestershire and garlic power. Open foil and butter the surface of each loaf half.

Spread 1/2 of meat mixture on loaf tops. Layer each half loaf with thinly sliced tomatoes, green peppers, then top with cheese.  Bake with top uncovered on baking sheet at 375 for 5 minutes, so vegetables soften slightly and cheese melts.  Slice to serve.  Easily serves 8.

Estimated cost: $5 to $6;  about .70 cents per serving