Making a dish from scratch that you’ve never had before can be a high-stakes game of roulette. Here we have a northern treasure that I was shocked to learn I LOVE. Maybe not that shocked: we’re talking about fries, gravy and cheese.
I was born and raised in New Jersey, so I’ve seen a plate of diner gravy fries in my day. While greasy and surely tasty if done right, they don’t bring that certain jenesaisquoi that poutine does.
In the off-chance you didn’t already know, this vegan poutine is the perfect cozy cold-weather late-night comfort food snack. The mushroom gravy is SO savory and the cashew cheese brings the perfect amount of tang. Add that with the salty, crispy fries and you’ve got yourself a French Canadian standard.
So, what do you think? Are you on board this gravy train? Try it out and let me know!
4 russet potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into matchsticks
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 ½ cups diced button or cremini mushrooms
¼ tsp each sea salt and black pepper or more to taste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
Optional: 1 tsp liquid aminos
3 tbsp cornstarch
½ cup veggie broth
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
Optional: 1-2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 recipe Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella, separated into 1 tsp amounts (which act as “cheese curds”; or sub 1 cup store-bought vegan mozzarella cheese)
2 green onions, sliced thin (green parts only)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add fries, oil, and salt and toss to coat. Arrange fries in a single layer, making sure they aren’t overlapping much. This will help them get crispy and cook evenly. If using frozen fries, follow package instructions.
Bake for a total of 40 minutes, tossing/flipping at least once to ensure even baking. When the fries are finished, remove from oven and set aside. If they aren’t crispy enough for you, leave them in longer, and check them at 5 minute increments.
While fries are crisping up, heat a skillet on medium heat. Add oil and shallots once hot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, balsamic, mustard, and liquid aminos (if desired).
Stir and increase heat to medium high to brown the mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until they are slightly caramelized. Then add the cornstarch and stir to coat. It should look dry at this point.
Lower heat to low, add the broth and milk and whisk. It should resemble gravy pretty quickly and should bubble and thicken as it cooks.
Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until you've reached your desired thickness. Add broth or milk to thin if it becomes too thick.
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth (optional but recommended). Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt and pepper to taste or more Worcestershire or liquid aminos for more depth of flavor.
Keep the gravy warm while you prepare the fries and cheese (I kept it in the blender with the lid on, but you can also transfer to the stove on the lowest heat possible).
Add all of the baked fries to one baking sheet or oven-safe baking dish. Then divide the Vegan Mozzarella Cheese into 1 tsp "curds" and add to the baked fries (I used about half of 1 batch of the recipe, but get as cheesy as you want!). If using store-bought mozzarella, just sprinkle over the fries or separate as you would the homemade.
Place fries back in oven on the top rack on broil so the cheese can melt and get slightly browned. Watch carefully so the fries don't burn, about 3-5 minutes.
Pour the gravy over top just before serving and sprinkle with green onion.
*If you want to make this even easier, use frozen fries! I won’t judge you.
Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.