Archive for May, 2011

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Vegan Gnocchi Poutine

May 13, 2011

Watch out—this is poutine with a twist!

Of all the food blogs I regularly follow, Closet Cooking is one of the few that are non-veg*n. Yet despite the many meaty dishes it features, the blog is still well worth it for veg*n readers, simply because it offers so many tasty and inventive recipe ideas. Honestly, some of my all-time favorite recipes have come from Closet Cooking: for example, Kare Pan, Okonomiyaki, Apple Chutney, Dak Bulgogi, and Corned Beef, Cabbage, & Kimchi Burritos, to name but a few. Many of these recipes have required some tweaking on my part to veganize them, but that’s part of the fun! Reading Closet Cooking has definitely made me a better and more versatile chef.

Recently, Closet Cooking posted yet another inventive dish idea that I immediately fell for: Gnocchi Poutine. Living in Canada now for almost two years, I’ve come to acquire a strange reverence and awe for poutine, the gravy-soaked, cheese-curd-punctuated pile of french fries which, for lack of a better option, is what I most often think of as the Canadian national dish (in the same way that I most often think of a Tim Hortons Double Double as the Canadian national drink). Unfortunately, most poutine served in Toronto is not vegetarian, as it usually involves a meat-based gravy—although there are, thankfully, some notable exceptions, such as Utopia Cafe‘s vegetarian poutine, Burger Bar‘s saag poutine, Live‘s raw spin on poutine. However, the better option would be just to make poutine on my own at home—an option that, surprisingly, I never really considered doing until a few weeks ago.

It was Closet Cooking’s recipe that gave me the extra motivation I needed, for his recipe was not just for poutine, but for gnocchi poutine, an idea I had never heard or thought of before, but which immediately struck me as brilliant. Gnocchi is one of those foods that I get these periodic cravings for, but as much as I love it, I had never tried making it myself before. However, after watching Top Chef All-Star Fabio Viviani handroll delicious little balls of gnocchi by hand several times last season, the whole process looked like too much fun not to attempt at least once. And with that, Caitlin and I decided to create some poutine magic! Ready? Then let’s go!

poutine preparation is under way…

As mentioned above, poutine has three basic components: gravy, cheese curds, and potatoes in some form or another. For the gravy, Caitlin and I decided to go with one of our perennial vegan favorites: Vegan Dad’s amazing mushroom gravy, which is unbeatable and fairly simple. You start by roasting some mushrooms, garlic, and shallots…

And then simply mix those things with some liquids and simmer to make a super delicious gravy.

For the cheese curds, we needed to get a little more inventive, but our efforts turned out to be a huge success! Our basic idea was to cut up some tofu cubes and then bake them in a cheesy sauce, for which we used this vegan mac and cheese recipe (we only needed to make a third of the original recipe). Here was our tofu before going into the oven…

And here it is after coming out!

This really came out awesome—much better than I was expecting to be honest—and made for a scrumptious poutine in the end.

Last but not least, our potatoes. Now, for those playing at home, you don’t have to follow us in making gnocchi; this basic veg*n poutine guideline would work just as well, if not better, with some baked potato wedges or what have you. But gnocchi really aren’t that much more work to make—and it’s fun! We followed Closet Cooking’s simple recipe, which was very easy to follow, and came out tasting pretty good. After baking and mashed a couple potatoes together with some flour and flax eggs, all you do is roll and cut your dough into little gnocchi balls, like so:

Once your little balls of gnocchi are all set, you then just boil them like regular gnocchi! Simple!

Here they are up close:

Finally, assemble your poutine by placing some of the gnocchi in a bowl or on a plate, and then lather it with gravy and tofu cheese curds to your liking.

So all in all, a very fun and satisfying recipe! Hope you all enjoy this one. Here’s to poutine, Canada, and vegan creativity!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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