Traditional poutine is a Canadian specialty of French fries and cheese curds smothered in gravy. Kosher poutine is a bit of a challenge, but fear not as I have mastered the art with shredded fresh mozzarella to replace the curds and a parmesan ‘gravy’. This is a great dish for Hannukah, as dairy is customarily eaten on Chanukah to remember the bravery of Yehudit. Note: you may need to take a nap afterwards!
- 4 large nicola or desiree potatoes, peeled, chopped
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1½ tbsp matzo meal (see note)
- 2 tsp kosher or coarse cooking salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to season
- vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
- 1 ball fresh kosher mozzarella, shredded
- 15 g butter
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 tsp plain flour
- 240 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp grated kosher parmesan
- salt and pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the potatoes and onions in a food processor and process until finely chopped, then immediately place in a bowl of water to prevent browning. Strain through a sieve, then place on a large piece of muslin or clean Chux. Wrap tightly and squeeze out as much liquid as possible into a bowl. Let the liquid sit for 5 minutes or until the potato starch settles to the bottom. Slowly pour off the liquid into the sink, leaving the potato starch in the bowl. Add the eggs, matzo meal, salt and pepper to the starch and stir to combine. Stir in the potato mixture.
Fill a large frypan ½ cm deep with the oil and heat over medium heat. Working in batches, using a mini ice cream scoop, scoop potato mixture into pan. Cook, turning, for 4–5 minutes or until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
To make the parmesan gravy, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until softened and fragrant, but not browned. Add the flour and stir continuously until deep golden. Be careful not to burn it! Whisking continuously, gradually add the stock, and continue to whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the soy sauce and parmesan, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, for 5–10 minutes or until smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper (it shouldn’t need more than a pinch of salt because the soy sauce and parmesan are salty). Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired, for silky smooth gravy. Keep warm.
Place the mini potato latkes on a platter, making sure they are hot so the mozzarella will melt, then scatter over the mozzarella and drizzle generously with the warm gravy to serve.
• Matzo meal is available from the kosher section of selected supermarkets.
• To make it pareve (kosher dairy- and meat-free), omit the parmesan and substitute vegan butter. For a variation, substitute the mini latkes for French fries, potato wedges or tater tots.
Recipe from Busy in Brooklyn by Chanie Apfelbaum, with photography by Chanie Apfelbaum.