A fun and fast twist on classic Quebecois fare!
Whenever I grab a bag of cheese curds at the grocery store, poutine (obviously) springs to mind. If you’re not familiar with the dish – one of the most iconic in French Canadian cuisine – it consists of french fries topped with cheese curds (similar to small pieces of mozzarella) and gravy. One day I decided to play around and create a variation that was just a little lighter, fresher and less salty. There are three things I love most about this super easy potato salad: it’s delicious; you can serve it as a main course or a side dish; and it truly only takes 15 minutes to prepare. Much like that favourite cozy sweater you love, I suspect this may become one of your go-to dishes. If so, I’m sure your family will be thrilled.
- 1 1/2 pounds (700 grams) potatoes*
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) coarse salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) flour
- 1 cup (250 mL) beef broth
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced onion
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) diced celery
- pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) white vinegar
- 1.5 cups (375 mL) cheese curds (or mozzarella, cut in 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm pieces)
- minced parsley, for garnish
*I used baby red potatoes because that’s what I had on hand; any potatoes will do.
- Wash and cut potatoes into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Place in a broad saucepan and just barely cover with cold water.
- Cover pan and bring potatoes to a boil over high heat, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Reduce heat so potatoes are boiling gently.
- While potatoes cook, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes until the mixture starts to smell like baking cookies.
- Add half the beef broth and whisk continuously until thickened and smooth.
- Add remaining beef broth and whisk until well blended and smooth.
- Add onions and celery. Increase heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 – 5 minutes to soften vegetables.
- Add pepper to taste. Resist the urge to add salt because the potatoes have already been salted and the cheese curds will add a good salty flavour as well.
- When the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes) when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, drain well. Toss them in the hot pan they cooked in for a moment to allow any residual moisture to evaporate. Sprinkle vinegar (this gives the potatoes a nice potato-salady tang without being overpowering) on top and toss for 30 seconds more.
- Divide the potatoes among four to six warmed bowls (or place in one larger serving bowl).
- Ladle the hot gravy over top of the potatoes and sprinkle with cheese curds and parsley. Serve hot.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.