Cheese curds are not generally a west coast food. Apparently it is in the rest of the country.
When I decided to do gravy week, I had several people begging me to make poutine. Well, how can I refuse french fries smothered in gravy? I can’t. Obviously. I figured I would make this even easier for you. So, traditionally poutine is gravy ladled over french fries. I mean, I love french fries, especially thick homemade ones, but I didn’t feel like frying anything or baking them.
I went a slightly different path and made this recipe a bit more weekday dinner friendly. Just bake the potatoes! Just throw them in the oven or if you want to cheat just microwave them, I won’t tell anyone. The baked potato makes a brilliant delivery system for the gravy because it soaks in all the goodness so you get flavor in every single bite.
Lets chat about this gravy, since it’s gravy week and all. Poutine is a brown gravy base, which generally is meat based – beef, veal, lamb etc. It’s rich and full of flavor that comes from the slow cooked broth that is the base of the gravy itself. Earthy mushrooms work really well in brown gravy because they add a whole other dimension to the taste. That is why I added them, but yes if you are adverse to mushrooms you can easily just leave them out.
A few days before I made this poutine, I had stuck a pork butt in my slow cooker for dinner. Simple. Just pork, chopped onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. It was yummy but I had a ton of leftovers. This recipe would work with so many different meats – the heartier the better. I had the option to use pulled pork, but you could easily use pulled chicken or even steak. So here is the perfect recipe for leftovers. Use whatever you have and clean out the fridge!
Finally we need to talk about the cheese. So I guess, according to Bradley, cheese curds are common in states like Minnesota. Yeah, California doesn’t commonly have them. I guess certain stores in this area might carry them in order to appease those Minnesota-type cooks who want to make cheese curds, but I didn’t really know where to start looking. So I needed an alternative. Something that exists in my neighborhood grocery store – and in yours.
I researched and my answer was fresh mozzarella. It melts but still remains an actual bite of cheese rather than a melty mess. Don’t use shredded cheese because it will just melt into the gravy and you won’t get that awesome bite of soft warm cheese. I piled as many pieces of cheese onto my potato as I could. It was so worth it.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups shredded meat
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 32 ounces beef stock
- 4 large potatoes, baked and sliced open
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1” cubes
- In a medium saucepan melt the butter, add flour and stir until combined. Continuously stir for three minutes until light brown. Stir in balsamic vinegar and mushrooms. Stir in beef stock and simmer until thick, about ten minutes. Add meat, heat for one minute and remove from heat.
- Top potatoes with cubes of mozzarella cheese, then pour gravy over the top.