Poutine, at its most authentic but also its most delicious: with smoked meat on top. While many won’t be smoking their own meat, that’s okay: Pastrami is a great substitute. Reprinted with permission from Mile End.
thick cut Russet potatoes
unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
finely chopped shallot
Freshly ground black pepper
room-temperature cheese curds (having them room temperature helps the cheese to melt)
warm chopped up smoked meat, such as pastrami
To start the fries, rinse them thoroughly with cold water for a couple minutes to wash off all the starch.
While your fries rinse, preheat your oil to 275°F. Once the oil is hot, drain your fries and dry them very well to avoid splatter from oil. Gently put your potatoes in the oil and cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Place them on a sheet tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil and let them cool down. While your fries are cooling, start your gravy.
To make the gravy, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and whisk until the flour has a toasted aroma and is light brown in color, about 2 minutes.
While whisking, slowly pour in the chicken broth and whisk until the flour is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with pepper and simmer until the gravy thickens and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
Heat oil to 350°F, once the oil is hot, fry your blanched potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Have a bowl ready with paper towel to drain the excess oil. Once you remove the fries from the oil, place them in the bowl and toss immediately with kosher salt. It’s very important you do this so the salt sticks to the fries otherwise they will be bland.
Place your fries on a plate or bowl, top with your cheese curds and smoked meat.
Ladle 3 to 4 ounces gravy over French fries and cheese curds.