Poutine is a traditional Quebec dish of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Comfort food at its finest if you ask me, but with an obvious problem for anyone who keeps kosher... meat and cheese together! However, once my good friend Reuben Cohen found a vegetarian poutine place, I knew we had to get some when I visited him in Montreal. And it did not disappoint. The rich cheese curds and salty fries were deliciously tied together by the smooth and warm gravy. This dish truly hit the spot considering it was -26° outside, though I had a feeling it would hit the spot any day of the year. So, I decided to give making it a shot.
However, in addition to the consideration of making a non-meat gravy, poutine presents other challenges. French fries can't be made without a deep fryer, and cheese curds are not readily available in grocery stores. I decided to solve the first of these issues by sautéing sweet potato cubes, as I like sweet potato better anyway and figured I could replicate the chewy inside and crispy outside of French fries. And instead of the cheese curds, I used feta. I figured that this cheese could replicate the saltiness and creaminess present in a traditional poutine.
To start, sauté the sweet potato, onion, and yellow bell pepper. You want them all to be done at the same time, but it's also best if the sweet potato cubes are bit more charred than normal.
The vegetarian gravy uses a simple roux base, with soy sauce as a secret ingredient to provide that umami flavor. Make sure to have some water easily accessible, as the gravy will likely finish before the veggies and will need to be reliquified a bit after it's been sitting.
Finally, toss together the veggies, the gravy, and crumbled feta. This poutine may not be conventional, but it's still delicious.
Sweet Potato Poutine
This modern take on a Canadian classic is able to maintain traditional flavors while using simple ingredients. Both crunchy and creamy, it's guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
Makes: 1 large bowlful
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Olive oil
- 3 tbsps butter
- 3 tbsps flour
- Pinch of onion powder
- Pinch of garlic powder
- 2 large splashes of soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- A handful of crumbled feta
- Cut the sweet potato, bell pepper, and onion into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Add olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the sweet potato to the pan. After about 12 minutes, add the onion. About 4 minutes after that, add the bell pepper. Sauté until all are tender.
- While the veggies are sautéing, make the gravy. Start by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour to the saucepan, continuously stirring until it's fully dissolved.
- While stirring, add the soy sauce, water, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. If the gravy is sitting around while the veggies are still cooking, turn the heat back on and add more water until the desired consistency is reached.
- Toss together the veggies, gravy, and crumbled feta.