Week Three. This is when we start to eat our feelings during football season.
Steelers and Browns. Buccaneers and Panthers. New York Large People and Washington Skincolors. Vikings. Don’t need to say it but worth including, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hell, even Philadelphia Eagles fans might need a few extra carbs today after last night’s interception-fumbles-missed kicks-failed two-point conversion-derp-fest against Kansas City.
And gravy. Lots and lots of gravy.
One of the interesting perks I’ve found since joining KSK last year is mining through the hundreds of tags used on the site since its inception. The majority of them only used once or twice, most funny, many disturbing, a few best left deep in the archives of 2007 (unte-Pay elated-ray). Since the above teams face a potential 0-3 start, it seemed worth it to drag up this goodie from Ufford’s past, drown your sorrows in gravy.
Spend anytime around a Canadian or drinking in any bar that considers itself a gastropub of sorts and you’ll encounter poutine; the delicious mix of fries, gravy and melted cheese curds. Sometimes they’ll also have meat or different type of gravy or sauce — Soleil here in Los Angeles has 11 types of glorious poutine while Grill ‘Em All Burgers makes theirs with duck confit, duck gravy and cracklin — but even a basic poutine still delicious. The only problem being that “poutine” generally is considered to mean “mess” and making French fries at home certainly is a mess. So potato skins. Less mess. Better cheese and gravy delivery system.
Crowds starting to grow thin as your team starts to tank? A smaller portion of mini poutine potatoes is great for a more intimate gathering of tears and team jersey burials.
Poutine Potato Skins
You will need:
4-5 pounds medium-sized Russet potatoes
Canola oil or vegetable oil (Cooking oil spray or regular oil)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium white onion, finely diced (About 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons flour
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stem, minced (About 1-2 teaspoons)
kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon each
2 cups beef stock
8 ounces cheese curds
Preheat oven to 400º.
Rinse and brush clean the potatoes while the oven is heating. Dry the potatoes and then stab them all over with a knife so they don’t explode while baking. (If you’re anything like me, you re-enact the kitchen galley scene from ALIENS except unlike Bishop, you don’t cut yourself. And you’re not an artificial person. Probably.) Either brush or spray with oil until the potatoes are lightly greased.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until softened all the way through. Once done, remove from the oven and rest until cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes in half and carefully scoop out the inside of the potatoes. Reserve the potato innards for another time. (Perhaps for making Beer Battered Mashed Potato Balls.) Lightly brush or spray both the outside and inside of the newly formed potato boats with oil and bake skin side up for 10 minutes and then turn them over and bake for 10 more minutes. This gives you a nice, sturdy potato vessel for stuffing with gravy and cheese.
While the potatoes are baking make the gravy. Now, you may end up with a little extra gravy with this recipe. Have no fear, you can gentle reheat any leftover gravy and put it sandwiches over the next couple of days.
In a sauce pan, gently melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat just a touch to medium-low. Add the flour and stir constantly with either a whisk or a wooden spoon until the flour has been completely absorbed into the butter and starts to thicken into a golden brown roux. Mix in the minced thyme and about 1/2 teaspoon of both kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Working about 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, start to stir in the beef stock, whisking the entire time as to prevent lumps. Once you’ve added all the stock, bump the heat back up a touch and cook until desired thickness, generally until the gravy can coat the back of a spoon easily. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if so desired. Remove from heat once done.
When the potato boats and the gravy are both ready, crumble a few cheese curds into each potato skin and then cover with a tablespoon or two of gravy. Pop back into the 400º oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
Garnish with chives and serve.
Depending on what else you having during the game, serves 4-6 as a large snack, 6-8 as a good side snack.
Again, just you, your partner/roommate/best friend/dog? A smaller serving will do you.
Mini Poutine Potatoes
16 ounces baby potatoes
Canola oil or vegetable oil, about 1-2 tablespoons
6-8 ounces cheese curds
Chives or minced parsley
Make the same gravy as for the above Poutine Potato Skins recipe. (Actually, if you wanted to, you could make both the potato skins and and the mini potatoes with the same batch of gravy.)
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Wash the baby potatoes clean and pat dry. In shallow glass baking dish, toss the baby potatoes with a little bit of canola oil until lightly coated. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until softened. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool until safe to handle.
Slice open each baby potato 3/4 of the way through and give a gentle squeeze to make a small potato pocket. Stuff each baby potato with a cheese curd and then spoon a small amount of gravy over the top. Once all the potatoes are stuffed, put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted.
Top with chives or parsley and serve. Small side snack for 3-4 people or substantial snack for two.
See? Doesn’t it feel better now that you’ve had a few savory bites of gravy, melted cheese and carb loaded potatoes? Yes. Yes, it does.
Just don’t check your fantasy team scores now and make that happy feeling go away.