bits and pieces

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pulled Pork Gnocchi Poutine

Yeah. I made this for mah mans. Best girlfriend ever or
poutine widow in the making?
Yeah so I'm just the best. There's nothing else to feel but sickening self satisfaction and smugness.

How could I not feel like a culinary victor?

Four words for you: Gnocchi. Pulled Pork. Poutine.

If you want to break that down even further - delicious seared potato pasta nuggets, slow cooked pork (16 hours) in chipotle bbq sauce, a cup of mozzarella/creamy havarti, and a 99 cent package of St. Hubert poutine gravy that I found at my grocery store. Yup. That last part is real classy. Although - very authentically Quebecois. Ironically,  the only authentic part of this dish.

I am going to assume that 99.8% of people reading this are people I know from McGill or at least people from Canada. Ergo, everyone knows what poutine is.  Or at least they should. If you have never had poutine I insist you go out and get some/make your own. Repeat after me: gravy, cheese, french fries... gravy.. cheese..french fries.


This is not something you should eat every day or hell, even every week. But for a special treat, this is pretty ridiculous and awesome.

I had poutine for the first time at age 7 or 8. We were filming a show in rural Quebec, and part of the bit was filming the kids eating poutine. I must have been going through a picky phase because I remember thinking that french fries and gravy was a bastardization of the classic and superior mashed potatoes and gravy. Stupid, stupid 8 year old me. 

Poutine, like most other great foods is peasant food. Totally Quebecois, and as anyone who has spent some time there will know - you can get poutine pretty much anyway you want. Italian poutine has sausage and beef on top. You can get chicken + mushroom poutine. You can get poutine with vegetarian gravy and sweet potato friends (which I think I might make as it sounded so good typing it). You can get mexican poutine with some nice spice. You can get lobster poutine. Much like mac and cheese - the poutine is just a delicious vehicle for more deliciousness. 

This recipe posting is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge as I'm going to be posting a pulled pork recipe/review shortly, so for now I'm not going to tell you how to make pulled pork. I will instead assume that you have it handy. I mean who doesn't have 4 pounds of slow cooked pork shoulder in their fridge? I know I do. Although that 4 pounds is slowly dwindling as it has been making it's way into EVERYTHING. Well. It's made its way into mac and cheese, poutine, and a sammich so far. But it will also star in tacos and a grilled cheese shortly. Possibly even a lentil salad. WHO KNOWS!? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ONLY LIMITED BY THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF PORK!


It really is as good as it looks.
It's really sad that I get that excited about cooking with pulled pork when I don't even eat it. I don't know what's wrong with me but someone should probably figure it out. Even if you don't have pulled pork I recommend making this with whatever topping your brain wants: green peppers + mushrooms, feta + red peppers, carmelized onions, bbq'd chicken, or even just having it naked with the gravy and cheese. You really can't go wrong.


ingredients:
1 box-y bag thing of gnocchi (this makes enough for 2 people to enjoy)
some olive oil
salt and pepper (I used white pepper because I forgot to refill my little pepper shaker)
some old bay seasoning (truly, I use this in everything)
1 cup + a little more of grated cheese. I started with mozzarella, ran out, and continued with havarti, which is creamy and delicious and you should all try
1 pack of that scary store bought poutine gravy. It requires normally only that package + 2 cups of water. But make according to the package directions. 
about 1/3 of a cup pulled pork per person, warmed. 

other things you will need:
a big frying pan or skillet
a pot of boiling water to cook your gnocchi in
a strainer to strain your gnocchi
a whisk for whisking your gravy
and a cheese grater for your cheese gratin'

  1. Salt your pot of water and bring it to a boil. If need be, heat your pulled pork in the oven at about 300 degrees or so. Leave it in there (covered) to stay warm until you need it. 
  2. Grate your cheese, set aside. 
  3. Start your gravy. You basically add the powdered gravy (gross) to the water and slowly bring it to a boil. Leave it on medium, and then after it's started to warm, turn it to medium high and leave it there until it starts to thicken and begins to come to a boil. If you time this right will be ready at just the right minute. If not, lower the heat and stir occasionally until you're ready to ladle it onto your masterpiece. 
  4. OK. So your water should be boiling by now, oui? Oui. Add your gnocchi. Cook for a few minutes. Normally no more than 5. You know your gnocchi is ready when they start to float. Once they start floating, stick your frying pan with olive oil on over medium heat. Don't over cook your gnocchi. Take them right out. Strain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Once your olive oil is heated, add the gnocchi to your frying pan. Yes. This is a critical step. Many people don't realize that you can/should pan sear your gnocchi before it's ready. Think of gnocchi like tiny little cheese-less perogies. Sure you can just boil them and eat them, but how much better are they once they're sauteed and a little bit brown and a little bit crunch? SO much better. 
  6. Sprinkle your gnocchi with a decent size pinch of salt (pretend you're salting french fries), a good few dashes of old bay, and a bit of white/black pepper. Toss them like the professional chef you are/flip em with a spatula like the nervous chef you are. Pan sear them for about 5 minutes or so until they're starting to develop a golden-y lightly browned look. Add a little more old bay/pepper if you'd like as you're shaking them. You can turn up the heat to medium high if you'd like but make sure you're paying attention. I know you have gravy bubbling, cheese thatyou're eating, and pork in the oven, but don't burn these babies. It would be so, so, so, so sad. 
  7. Once they're starting to crisp up, remove from heat. Fill a bowl with about half as much as you'd like. Top with cheese, and then add the other half of the gnocchi. Top with pulled pork, the remaining cheese and then the gravy.
  8. You are now ready to consume this. Take a deep breath. Smile. Eat. I recommend a big glass of water/beer and a lot of follow up cardio.

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