Spicy Vegan Poutine

When we were in Montréal last week, we went to La Banquise – a 24 hr Poutine Restaurant (somewhere between 11:00 pm – 12:00 am, because when in Montréal…) and we ate the best poutine. Of. My. Life!  At least in my most recent memory.  Now, there are a decent amount of vegan restaurants here in Vancouver that do offer vegan poutine, and yet, somehow they do not taste like the ones that you get in Québec.  I could taste at La Banquise that they made their fries from scratch.  I don’t know how they make vegan gravy at La Banquise, so I am going to go on my own gravy quest.  And I am also going to upgrade their recipe by using Gusta cheese (the best vegan cheese I’ve ever had).  You know you’ve got a great vegan cheese when your boyfriend digs through the trash to look at the ingredients and make sure that it’s actually vegan!  I gotta say, when I saw on the menu that they use Daiya, I was a little put off, because I mean Daiya compared to cheese curds, c’mon!  But nevertheless, La Banquise NAILED it.  And hopefully I will too!  In this recipe I am going to be baking my fries in the oven as I don’t have a deep fryer.  It’s a little bit harder to get crispy fries using this method, but we will see how it goes.  I mean, they’re bound to get a little soft smothered in gravy and melted cheese so I don’t really mind.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup grated Gusta cheese or Daiya Mozzarella shreds

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Fries:

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or olive oil, canola oil, whatever neutral cooking oil you prefer)
  • 1 – 2 tsp salt (or more if you like really salty fries)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)

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Gravy:

  • 2 tbsp vegan margerine or butter
  • 2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp corn starch (optional)

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Directions

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  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut potatoes into fries – I left the skin on mine because I prefer it that way, but if you prefer you could peel them beforehand.  I cut mine to be about 1 cm thick.
  3. Pour in the oil, salt, cumin, chili peppers, and garlic powder over the fries and mix well so that all them are evenly are coated.
  4. Pro tip (optional) : refrigerate the fries for 1 hour.  This was a bit of a pleasant mistake.  I had to put the uncooked fries in the fridge for an hour or so while I had a rehearsal.  A lot of moisture leeched out of them in the process and when I baked them they cooked up really nice and crispy and did not stick to the baking sheet.
  5. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  6. Spread the fries evenly over two baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes, flipping them half way through.
  7. When the fries are about half done, grate your cheese and start the gravy.
  8. For the gravy, melt the margarine in small sauce pan.
  9. Stir in the flour to form a paste and add the soy sauce and the broth.  Stir until there are no lumps.  Let simmer for 3 mins
  10. If the gravy is too thick, add in one tsp of cornstarch and keep stirring for about 2 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat while you assemble the poutine: start with a generous portion of fries in your favourite large bowl or plate, sprinkle grated cheese liberally and smother it all with large spoonfuls of gravy.  Enjoy!

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