MUNCHIES’ signature web series, Chef’s Night Out, is the channel’s “answer to the glut of sleepy TV food shows.” It sees some of the world’s greatest chefs after service hours as they take us on crazy nights out, and share unfiltered commentary. Of course, there’s food everywhere. But in stark contrast to plated masterpieces, we’re shown casual, spontaneous, and, at times, messy eats.
We’d do this after a couple of drinks, no problem.
A couple of years after the show’s debut, VICE chronicled the series through The MUNCHIES cookbook. The glossy black book is a compilation of recipes featured in the episodes. It’s an attractive collection of buffed up late-night comfort food “from the world’s best chefs.” Enticed, our videographer looked through it, and decided to test Noah Bernamoff‘s classic poutine recipe. (Archie likes fries… and easy recipes.)
Noah Bernamoff founded New York’s Mile End deli, which “brought Montreal-style bagels and smoked meat sandwiches to New York.” His poutine recipe sticks to the textbook definition of the Canadian dish: crunchy fries, thick gravy, and cheese curds. According to Archie, sourcing the ingredients was a bit challenging, particularly the cheese curds. So, he used mozzarella cheese as an alternative. The recipe also calls for cut-up russet potatoes; but Archie opted to use store-bought fries, instead.
Cutting onions 101
The process, on the other hand, was fairly effortless. “[Cooking was easy] since [it was just] frying; and the sauce [was] not that hard [to make.]” Although, Archie admits he had a hard time cutting the onions. (He had yet to learn how to do it properly.) The result was a dish worthy of late-night status—salty, loaded, and sinful. MUNCHIES was right; as proven by this simple, quintessential recipe, these guys “know what the hell they’re doing.”
Recipe by Noah Bernamoff, published on The MUNCHIES Cookbook by JJ Goode, Helen Hollyman, and the editors of MUNCHIES
Serves: 6 people
Active time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 small shallots)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 pounds large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into 1⁄2-inch sticks, then soaked in cold water until ready to fry
2 cups (10 ounces) cheese curds, at room temperature
To make the gravy, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the shallots, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and whisk until the flour has a toasty aroma and turns light brown, about 2 minutes.
Slowly pour in the chicken broth while whisking constantly, then continue to whisk until smooth.
Simmer until the gravy thickens and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes.
Taste and season with additional salt and pepper.
To make the fries, heat 4 inches of oil in a large saucepan until a deep fry thermometer reaches 275F to 300F.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Drain the potatoes and pat them dry.
Working in batches to avoid crowding the oil, fry the potatoes until they go from shiny to matte, 3 to 5 minutes. This is just the first frying; don’t worry!
Use a strainer to transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
When you’ve fried all of the potatoes, fry them again. Heat the oil to 350F and line a second baking sheet with paper towels.
Fry the potatoes in batches until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet to drain and immediately toss with plenty of salt.
To assemble the poutine, sprinkle about a quarter of the cheese curds in the bottom of a serving dish and top with the hot fries.
Evenly spread the remaining cheese curds over them and pour the gravy generously over the fries.