These cheesy potato morsels covered in gravy pay homage to the Québécois dish poutine: fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and brown gravy. Since fresh cheese curds can be hard to come by, we used shredded cheddar instead and put it right into the tots. Pour the gravy over the potatoes or serve it on the side.
- Yields: About 45 tots
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins
- 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes (about 2 medium), scrubbed
- 1 cup shredded mild white cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups canola oil, for frying
- Basic Chicken Gravy, for dipping
- Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until easily pierced with a knife but still firm in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes. (If you have 3 smaller potatoes, cook them about 25 to 30 minutes.) When cool enough to handle but still hot, peel away the skin using a paring knife and discard. Shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, sprinkle in the cheese, flour, and salt, and season with pepper. Mix until combined.
- Measure 1 teaspoon of the potato mixture and roll into a short cylinder about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
- Line a second baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Add enough of the oil to a large frying pan to reach about 1/4 inch up the sides and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Check to see if the oil is hot by submerging the handle of a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick till it touches the bottom of the pan—the oil should bubble vigorously. When it’s ready, fry the tots in batches of 8 to 10 pieces (do not overcrowd the pan), turning once, until medium golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt. To serve, arrange the tots in a serving dish and drizzle the desired amount of gravy over them; alternatively, you can serve the gravy on the side for dipping.
- To freeze, let the fried tots cool, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Arrange in a single layer and place in the freezer. To reheat, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Evenly spread the tots in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until hot, about 15 minutes.