We cannot celebrate Canada without Poutine! The poutine served at the track in Montreal is sort of boring to me… mushy French fries with brown gravy and lots of cheese curds. Don’t get me wrong! I love it, especially first thing in the morning to cure my lingering hangover and prepare for another day of racing. Ryan and I had the best poutine ever at the Ritz Carlton in Beaver Creek last winter. If you are ever in the area, it makes a great lunch on an epic powder day! This recipe is my best version of that dish… Mmmm, best poutine ever.
Start with the duck confit. If you can buy it prepared, good for you! I could not so I bought frozen duck legs. You could also use chicken legs and get really good results. Rub the legs with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours to let the salt do it’s work!
Heat medium saucepan to medium heat and cook duck legs, fat side down, for 20 minutes to brown skin and render the fat. Transfer to tight fitting roasting pan, cover with foil, and roast at 325º for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, flip, and roast another 20-30 minutes. Remove legs and reserve fat and drippings. My house smelled so good at this point… I want to roast duck in its own fat every weekend, seriously.
To make the gravy, pour the duck drippings and fat into a medium saucepan. You’ll only need about 2 tablespoons of fat, so pour the extra into a small dish and whatever you do, do not throw it away! Duck fat = liquid gold. Add the chopped shallots and cook over medium until just starting to brown.
Add flour and cook, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes. Carefully add the Cognac and cook one minute more. I like to remove my pan from the stove when I add the liquor to avoid lighting my kitchen on fire… Better safe than sorry.
Whisk in chicken stock and bring back to boil. Season to taste and add more chicken stock if needed. Remove the duck meat from the bones (eat the skin… chef’s treat) and shred into bite-sized pieces. Add to the gravy and let the flavors blend together while you prepare the fries.
Now that’s what I call gravy…
There’s a trick to crispy oven fries… egg whites! Turn your oven to 425º. Scrub and chop a large russet potato into 1/4 inch wide French fries. Whisk one egg white until it has at least tripled in size.
Add the potato, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread potatoes so that none are touching on a rimmed baking sheet that has been oiled with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Bake for 30 minutes on the lower rack of your oven, flipping once in between. I thought that mine needed a little more oil when I flipped them so guess what? I added the reserved duck fat…
Now it’s time to assemble the poutiness! I used my beautiful copper serving dishes that my friends gave me as a housewarming gift!
Turn the oven to broil because we want this dish hot and crispy. Start with a layer of fries, some cheese curds, and a little gravy.
Then add another layer the same way and put under your broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese cruds just start to melt.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh, chopped chives.
Be sure to have plenty of friends to share!
Poutine with Duck Confit
• 1 pound duck legs
• 1 dried thyme
• 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat and drippings
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
• 1-1/2 cup chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 tablespoons Cognac
Crispy-Oven French Fries
• 1 large Russet potato
• 1 egg white
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 5 ounces cheddar cheese curds
1. Coat duck with thyme, salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight.
2. Fry duck legs in large pan over medium low heat, fat side down, for 20 minutes to start rendering the fat.
3. Place the duck legs, fat side down, in tight fitting roasting pan, add the bay leaf, and cover with foil.
4. Roast at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
5. Remove foil, flip legs over and roast for 30 minutes more. Remove legs and keep covered to stay warm.
1. Pour the drippings from the duck roasting pan into a medium saucepan. Pour off all but tablespoons of the duck fat, reserve remaining.
2. Heat over medium and add the chopped shallots, cook about two minutes until beginning to brown.
3. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes
4. Slowly add the cognac and continue to whisk one minute more
5. Whisk in 1 cup chicken stock, bring back to a boil, and then turn heat to low.
6. Season with salt and pepper and add more chicken stock if consistency is too thick. Keep warm on stove.
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Scrub Russet potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick fries.
3. Whip egg white until tripled in size. Add potato, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
4. Oil rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil and add potatoes. Separate potatoes so that they are not touching each other.
5. Roast potatoes in a lower rack for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking time.
1. Oil two to four oven proof serving pans and turn oven to broil.
2. Shred the duck meat from the legs and stir into the cognac gravy.
3. Add enough potatoes to coat the bottom of the serving dishes, sprinkle with cheese curds, and top with gravy.
4. Add another stack of potatoes, cheese and gravy on top.
5. Broil poutines in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese curds begin to just melt.
6. Remove from oven, top with chopped fresh chives or parsley and serve!