Four years have gone by since Vancouver 2010. I remember the excitement of it all. Running beside Michael Buble when he carried the Olympic Torch in Downtown Vancouver; partying with the crazy fun crowds; tolerating the booming music from the Irish tent that was on Seymour and Nelson (exactly where I was living at); watching mens’ ice hockey events live at GM Place (now Rogers Arena) and UBC; cheering for Team Canada every single day; and no one in Vancouver (or entire Canada) would forget the golden moment when Sidney Crosby drove the puck into the net and all of us struck gold.
2010 seemed like yesterday, but it’s already time to cheer for Team Canada in the Sochi 2014 games. Last month, Cheryl Tan from A Tiger In The Kitchen approached me on Twitter and asked if I wanted to join the #LetsLunch group. I agreed and was ecstatic when they announced the theme of the month to be “The Olympic Spirit” — to cook a dish from the country that we are supporting at this Winter Olympics. Which dish is native to Canada and best enjoyed in this wintery cold?
Yes, poutine which originated from Quebec, is made with french fries, light brown gravy and cheese curds. My first taste of this authentic Canadian dish was during a backpacking trip to Montreal in 2011. As a lover of fries, this was a dance in my mouth with the saucy gravy and melted cheese curds.
Typically, the gravy is made from meat stock but as a vegetarian, I had to find an alternative — and vegetarian stock it was. Also, as I’ve been trying to use more ghee in my dishes, I substituted ghee for butter in this recipe and added a tiny splash of almond milk to replace a little of the milk solids that evaporated during the process of making the clarified butter.
Also, I would like to share with all of you that in the process of making this dish, my apartment’s smoke alarm went off three times. Imagine stirring the gravy to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, taking the pan out of the oven to flip the fries over, then grabbing the closest fan-like thing I could get my hands on to fan the invisible smoke away from the alarm. Multi-tasking at its best indeed.
But it was all worth it because the end product turned out perfectly well.
So here you go, the much awaited recipe.
Homemade Vegetarian Poutine
Adapted from Flourishing Foodie
- 2 large Russet potatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- 1/2 lb cheddar cheese curds
- Wash the potatoes and scrub them well. Julienne them with the skins left. Place them into a bowl of cold water and leave them in the fridge for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 450F after 50 minutes of leaving the julienned potatoes in the fridge.
- Remove potatoes from the fridge and pat them dry. Toss them in olive oil and lay them out on a baking pan. Bake it for 35 – 40 minutes, flipping them occasionally, till brown and crisp.
- In the last 20 minutes of baking, heat the ghee, salt and flour in a medium saucepan on low heat till it begins to foam. Stir in vegetable stock and almond milk with a wire whisk and increase the heat to medium-low. Simmer the gravy for 15 minutes or till it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
- Remove fries from the oven and place them onto serving plates. Top them with with cheese curds and pour the warm gravy on top.
- Enjoy your warm bowl of vegetarian poutine!
And to end off this post: the Winter Olympics spirit is burning strong at this northern side of the world.
GO, TEAM CANADA! #WeAreWinter!
Check out which countries our #LetsLunch group are rooting for and the dishes prepared:
Hot Borscht (Russia) by Lisa Goldberg
Ham-Pineapple Garlic Rice (Philippines) by Betty Ann Besa-Quirino
Honeybell Chess Pie (United States of America) by Jill Warren Lucas
Kotleti: Mom’s Russian Hamburgers (Russia) by Nancie McDermott
King Cakes (United States of America) by Margaret Ortigo
Chocolate Guinness Whoopie Pie (United States of America) by Mai Hoang
Guinness Stout Ice Cream (Jamaica) by Linda
Meyer Lemon Afternoon Cake by Linda Daniels
Saganaki (Greece) by Annabelle
Sochi Sliders by Anne Marie
Coconut Hot Chocolate with Kahlua by Grace Hwang Lynch
Solyanka (Russia) by Cheryl Tan