As this week ends, it is also the end of Poutine Week in Montréal. I’m not in Montréal, but part of me will always have an affinity for all things Québec because of the time my mum spent there. Poutine, essentially the provincial dish of Québec, is a blend of fries, cheese curds and a basic, chicken stock-based sauce. If you try to call it “gravy” it is immediately corrected as “sauce.” The thickening is oftentimes done with cornstarch or other starch, rather than a flour-roux base. I’m a non-traditional guy from the Prairies where rules go out the window so my “sauce” is more of a gravy. And my “fries” are perogies. I can make perogies (and there are recipes to come on my blog to do with that), but with a quick poutine-style dish, I enlisted the help of my favourite Ukrainian grandmother-type. Her name is Luba and makes every perogie by hand, hand-rolled, hand formed, hand made from top to bottom. Luba, in Ukrainian, means “love” and she certainly has love bursting from her and in her perogies.
Pepperoni Perogie Poutine
2 tsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
100g/4 oz Sunshine Organic Farms nitrate-free beef pepperoni, cut into 1/2cm(1/4″) slices.
1/4 cup butter
5 Tbsp Gold Forest Grains red fife flour, sifted
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp Peas On Earth Organic Farms fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 dozen Luba’s Ukrainian Foods cottage cheese perogies
2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
2 cups Riverbend Gardens red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups Doef’s Greenhouse red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
150g/6oz Sylvan Star Cheese 8 year old cheddar, crumbled
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tsp canola oil over medium high heat. Add half of the sliced pepperoni coins and fry until starting to darken to a medium brown. Add the butter and when melted gradually whisk in the sifted red fife flour. When it is smooth and combined, gradually whisk in the stock 1/4 cup at a time, ensuring the roux has started to thicken it before adding more stock. When the last of the stock has thickened, remove from the heat and add the minced garlic and salt. Set aside in a warm place.
Boil the perogies in plenty of boiling water in a large pot. When they float remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Heat a large nonstick pan with 2 tablespoon of canola oil over medium high heat. Brown the boiled perogies on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels or a clean towel. In the same pan, add the remaining pepperoni slices, onions and peppers. Sauté over the same medium high heat until they start to soften and become a light brown.
In a small bowl, spread six of the crispy fried perogies along the bottom and edges of the bowl. Sprinkle with some of the fried pepperoni, onions and peppers. Crumble a little 8 year old cheddar over top. Add a small ladle of gravy over the top and finish with a little more crispy pepperoni, onions, peppers and crumbled cheddar. Repeat with remaining perogies, gravy, pepperoni, onions, peppers and cheese. Serves 4.