I think my year-long stint living in Japan and my Canadian upbringing just had a love child. Miso + Poutine!… makes me wonder, what else could be born from such a cultural pairing? Adzuki bean butter tarts? Bacon wrapped sushi? Hmmmmm…..
For the moment, let’s focus on this J-Can creation. Here in the Great White North it is that time of year when heat goes on vacay. What’s a girl to do but break out her Goose, don her toque and make a little comfort food.
Poutine, if you are new to the Canadian food scene, is a lovely, yet often decadent combination of salty french fries, meaty gravy and ooey gooey cheese curds. Warm and comforting yes, but a touch on the rich side. Other mammals who call this climate home may like a little extra padding to keep them warm through the winter, but I would rather wear an extra sweater.
Baked sweet potato fries with a little miso gravy is just the way to achieve this healthed-up comfort fare. But miso not in a soup? WTF. It’s true. Here in the west we often think of miso in the salty broth that precedes our sushi platters, but in fact this savoury soy bean paste makes a great addition to all sorts of sauces, dressings and marinades. Miso tahini dressing?….currently obsessed.
Miso is the end product of combining soybeans with a little salt and fungus. While that may turn some of you green, we all need a little more fermented goodness in our lives (and no, for once I am not talking about beer and wine). Fermented foods are all the rage right now as more and more scientists are discovering that the trillions of bacteria that call us home are important for both our health and happiness. Here is a fact that may blow your mind, your gut bacteria produces about 95% of your body’s happy hormone, serotonin. That is right… your gut bacteria, not your brain. So, you see if you want to be happy you got to keep those bacteria happy. High in protein, and the essential minerals zinc (also good for your mental health) and manganese too, miso is really an all around good food decision to make.
Miso is available in a few different varieties; shiro (white), aka (red) and awase (a mixture of the two). Generally speaking, the darker the miso the stronger the taste with some of the shiro varietals being described as somewhat sweet. As GMO soybeans make up about 90% of the North American market, try to source a brand that contains Non-GMO, and is preferably organic. You can also find rice, barley and buckwheat types as well if soy is not your thing. Miso will keep for up to a year if stored in an air-tight container and kept refrigerated, but with all its lovely flavour and health benefits, why use so sparingly?
Japan + Canada 4eva!
Sweet Potato Poutine With Miso Dressing
2 x sweet potatoes
Coconut or olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp miso
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/4 nutritional yeast
Sirracha, to taste (optional)
green onions, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut sweet potatoes into 1/4″ strips.
- Toss in coconut oil, salt & pepper.
- Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Roast for 30 minutes, flipping fries half way through so they are toasty on both sides.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt butter.
- When butter is melted add flour and cook together for 3-4 minutes (a roux!), stirring continually until it smells nice and toasty.
- Add miso to mixture, immediately followed by water or stock. Whisk until miso is fully dissolved.
- Add nutritional yeast, Sirracha (if using) and lots of black pepper to taste.
- Continue cooking until gravy is at desired thickness. About 5 minutes for me
- Remove fries from oven. Top with gravy, cheese and onions.