That's why I'm completely flummoxed by the country's one culinary claim to fame: POUTINE
It's basically made with fries, cheese curds and brown gravy. Which, in my mind, is almost as slutty as one can get. Most hipster-ass restaurants here in the states refer to them as "Disco Fries" which imply a mirror ball being somehow involved so you can imagine my disappointment when it failed to appear at my table. The aforementioned trendy/small plate places serve just about any bastardization of the classic one can think of whilst clutching a mason jar filled with twee 'artisinal' cocktails that cost $17. Even Serious Eats offers a dissertation and all-day recipe if you want to get ...um...serious....about your eats.
I have no time for that nonsense. If I wanted to make my own damn fries and base my gravy on homemade stock, I wouldn't have time for:
* Bingeing on UnREAL
* Selecting the perfect pair of yoga pants
* Playing with my dog
* Various other things that don't involve slicing potatoes and boiling bones.
I bestow unto you a slight alteration upon the classic:
Pork Belly Poutine with Harissa Gravy, Cheese Curds and Cilantro
1 bag good quality frozen fries
2 pounds pork belly
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups beef stock (or broth), divided
2 tablespoons bacon fat (butter is okay if you don't have bacon fat in your fridge, but MY GOD, MAN, take a look at your life and resolve to be better about the various fats you keep in your kitchen to slut up your food!)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon harissa (cayenne & garlic powder is fine if you don't have it, loser)
2 handfuls cheese curds (expensive gourmet markets have this)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Bake your fries according to the directions on the bag. Smile smugly for not having to deal with potatoes in a time-consuming manner.
Score the fat of the pork belly with a sharp knife and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear it, fat side down, in a pressure cooker, for 5 minutes. Flip, add 1 cup of beef stock, seal the pressure cooker and bring to high heat. Cook for 50 minutes. Use the quick release method and then slice the pork belly into small, bite-sized pieces. Pour them into a large skillet and saute on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, or until browned on all sides. Empty onto a paper towel lined plate to drain.
***BTW, the fries and pork belly will take a while to cook. Be efficient and make the gravy, crumble the cheese curds and chop the cilantro while this happens***
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat, then add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes, then whisk in the remaining stock. Add the harissa as well, then bring to a boil. Reduce to low until ready to use.
Assemble by artfully layering your fries, gravy, pork belly, cheese curds and cilantro. This recipe makes enough for two people with drunk munchies. Just be sure you do all of your knife work before you start drinking. If you're still drinking at this point (and if you're not, maybe you're a wussy Canadian?), serve with an amber ale. xoxo
(If you don't have a pressure cooker, you need one. It's not that scary, I promise. And if you simply refuse, you can of course braise the pork belly but it'll take about two hours in a medium oven. Good luck.)