Deli Style Poutine
- 6 red skinned potatoes, the older the better
- Vegetable oil
- 2 cups cheese curds (see note)
- 1 can chicken barbecue sauce or canned brown gravy
- Salt, pepper, ketchup to taste
Boil the potatoes in simmering water until they are cooked about half way to two thirds of the way through. Remove from water, drain and pour cold water over them. Remove peels at this point. Allow potatoes to dry. Cut into sticks as you would for fries.
Using a large heavy skillet (a large cast iron one works well - or you can use a pot with a French fry basket if you like) pour in enough oil to fill a little less than half the pan.
Heat to medium hot and put in as many potato sticks as you can without crowding (there shouldn't be any overlapping). Reduce heat to medium and fry until potatoes evenly browned. This should go relatively slowly (about 10-12 minutes) - if the potatoes brown too fast, reduce heat. It is important they don't get too brown, too fast.
Meanwhile, heat barbecue sauce and have cheese curds nearby. Drain French fries briefly on paper towels or newspaper. Serve immediately by sprinkling cheese curds on top of fries and then covering the lot with hot barbecue sauce.
You can also add minced American pastrami to this dish to ensure it is 'deli-fied'
Discussions regarding the origins of Poutine as well as the dish's merits, logistics, rationale and what constitutes authenticity have been known to go on for hours and you can find such chats all over the Internet at this point. Most recently, my neighbour, a young man called Noah Berenbaum, moved from Montreal to New York and set up Mile End Restaurant where, in addition to Montreal Jewish deli-specialities, they also served famed poutine. This is essentially double-fried French fries, topped with mild cheddar cheese curds. The curds barely melt over the fries before a cloak of hot chicken BBQ sauce douses over it all. This is a diet buster but worth every bite. Is it deli food? Not quite but Mile End Restaurant has sort of made it so.