After sharing gratuitous shots of various smoked meats in my last post, I felt it necessary to provide something for the vegetarians in the crowd. This Sweet Potato Poutine with Morel Gravy is my gift to you and while it may not be something glamorous I sniffed out while globe-trotting, it is beyond delicious. But really, I’m not a saint; poutine is inherently delicious. It’s not exactly hard to make french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds taste good. But you have to admit a morel gravy is a touch unique, a touch decadent, a little more complex than the average. So whether your vegetarian or otherwise, pull up a chair and marvel at this mashup of Canadian street food and fabulous fungi.
I’ve had my heart broken by sweet potato fries more times than I can count. Sure, I’ve had the odd pleasant experience (they all include aioli) but for the most part, they’ve been a soggy letdown. Now, I’m not solely bashing professional purveyors of sweet potato fries, I include myself in this cycle of disappointment. I can never get them right. All too often they steam and then they burn.
I was this close to walking away from sweet potato fries altogether. Clearly, you need a deep fryer and a culinary school education to make them work for you. But in reality, all I had to do was dig deep and actually do some goddamn research like a responsible home cook. In the end, I think I have put together a method that will give you the best possible results for baked sweet potato fries. That being said, deep fried will always be better, so if you’ve got a deep frying rig or the thought of an oil-splattered kitchen doesn’t fill you with anxiety, I’d say you should fry your fries. But if you’re all “Hell no!” about frying, I think you’ll be satisfied with the baking method outlined below.
Do you have a favorite mushroom? I don’t – I can’t choose. Mushrooms are always a slam dunk for me. I would gladly eat mushrooms sautéed in garlic and butter every night of the week. I see mushrooms as the great unifier, the perfect food. Vegans love ‘em, vegetarians love ‘em and omnivores put them on their steak. They’re cool with the Paleo crowd and celiac peeps can digest them. That’s, like, five wins!
Mushrooms are also cool as hell to look at. Take the morel mushroom for instance. Have you ever seen anything like that? I mean, anything that isn’t a morel, smart ass. It’s positively alien. And the taste? Well, that’s very much of this planet. Meaty, complex and wonderfully earthy, the morel mushroom takes on the taste of its environment and translates it into something challenging but entirely palate pleasing. And the texture is toothsome to the point that the addition of meat would almost be overkill. In other words, morel mushrooms are the perfect candidate for a lush, full-bodied gravy.
Excited to make this Sweet Potato Poutine with Morel Gravy yet? This is a great thing to whip up for yourself or that someone special. It feels laid-back but there’s something about this poutine that makes me think “date night”. So if you’re a vegetarian or you’ve fallen for a vegetarian or you just have a healthy appreciation for vegetarian cuisine (Hey! That’s me!), give this Sweet Potato Poutine with Morel Gravy your full attention.
- 1 (14g / 0.4oz) packaged dried morel mushrooms
- 3-4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup cheese curds
- 1/4 cup arugula micro greens
- Place dried morels in a small mixing bowl. Cover with 1/2 cup of luke warm water and leave to steep for 2 hours.
- Cut sweet potatoes into fries and place in a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the fries. Let them soak for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400F while the fries soak.
- Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with paper towel.
- Place cornstarch and salt in a large ziplock bag. Add the potatoes and seal the bag. Toss to coat the fries.
- Arrange the coated fries on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Make sure the fires and evenly spaced and not crowded.
- Drizzle the fries with the olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the fries and bake for 10 minutes more. Turn off the oven and let the fries sit for another 10 minutes before taking them out of the oven.
- While the fries are baking make the morel gravy.
- Drain the morel mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Set both aside.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. About 5 minutes. Add the drained morels and sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Place the sauteed mushrooms and garlic on a plate and set aside.
- Add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour to form a roux.
- Pour in the wine, whisking constantly until the wine is thoroughly intergrated into the roux.
- Next, pour in the vegetable broth and the mushroom steeping liquid. Whisk until smooth and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
- Stir in the mushroom / garlic mixture and the Dijon mustard. Let the gravy simmer for a 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt accordingly.
- To assemble, divide the fries amongst 2-4 bowls. Top fries with cheese curds followed by a ladle-full of morel gravy.
- Garnish with arugula micro greens and consume immediately.