Once upon a time, I used to go to Canada every summer for vacation with my grandparents. They owned a cabin on the lake and they helped keep up the lodge as part of this collective ownernship thing with four or five other families. It was awesome. Each family had their own cabin with an extra bunkhouse down a shady
snake-filled path, there were out-houses scattered around (that you never EVER used or you’d be eaten by spiders from the butt up), and there were a few wobbly, private docks.
The main lodge was about the size of a small house and had the only working toilet, shower, and 1950s era TV that was never turned on. It also had the only cord phone hung on a wall that was mostly just for looking at since it only placed local calls and why the hell are you using a phone there anyways? Read a book! Or play some chess or swim or get attacked by horseflies while sunbathing on a dock or tip your boat after you’ve had one too many on the lake. You could skinny dip like my aunt or get sloshed like everyone’s grandparents or just bond by making your own games.
Where was I going with this? I just got lost in memory lane…
Canada! Yes. The lake was just outside of Iron Bridge, Canada which basically consisted of a gas station, small grocery store, and a diner. But that diner, man… It was epic. It was were I first discovered mayonnaise as a true condiment to pretty much ANYTHING. Also, poutine – fries smothered in gravy (and also mayo because I’m committed now). Those Canadians know what they’re doing and I never question tasty things.
So when Half-Baked Harvest decided to make a Canadian Poutine recipe, I couldn’t stop drooling for days until I finally broke down and made it. Seriously, it was 3 AM and it was CALLING me. So I made due with what I had and whipped up some breakfast poutine that I think any Canadian would be proud of. Tater tots, cheddar, gravy and a runny egg on top. This is the breakfast of champions. And possibly Mounties.
Okay, full disclosure. As you might have guessed, I’d been drinking the night before.
Is it still the night before if you finish drinking and make this at stupid o’clock in the morning? Just go with it.
So here I am thinking, “you know, the kitchen lighting is terrible for pictures but I can make it!” I pulled out the softest, most loved knit and crochet washcloths we had, a beautiful brown pottery urn, my eggshells. I was truly dedicated to this photoshoot. 100% convinced it was going to have that soft, heathery quality of a cottage breakfast on the farm. Instead what I got was grainy, washed-out uber-70s chic. You cannot tell me this doesn’t look like it came out of 70s cookbook where every picture had a macrame background.
That yellow… that brown… all that dull, badly lit white! I tried so hard guys. I tried so hard.
Anyways, I just slapped a vintage patina on this one and decided to go with it. Who am I to question the photography gods?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, kids. Now go make me an ashtray.
Okay, so rounding back to the point of this whole post. In the original recipe that Tieghan came up with, she used beer in her gravy. Very commendable suggestion as far as I’m concerned. However, I figured my raspberry wheat beer may not be quite what I had in mind, so my mind turned to something even better: whiskey.
I like whiskey in cooking. I like whiskey in just about anything. To round it out, I made this gravy a bit tangier because… well I like tangy but feel free to dial it back and make it savory again. It whips up pretty quick and goes great with poutine or your favorite roast and potatoes.
Adapted from this fine specimen at Half-Baked Harvest
Covers about 4 hearty servings of… anything. Fries, eggs, chicken fried steak, you name it.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 cup flour
- About 1/8 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1/4 whiskey (or bourbon or scotch if that’s important to you)
- 1 tablespoons ketchup
- 1-2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until it’s smooth – about 2 minutes.
Add the onion and garlic, and cook about 2 minutes, until softened and starting to slightly color. Add the beef stock, whiskey, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire and bring to a boil. Tip: when you start to add your liquids, whisk for your life because that roux is going to clump like the dickens.
Bring the gravy down to a medium boil and cook until it starts to reduce and thicken into your desired consistency. Start taste testing and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon over your meal of choice.