Poutine is food of the gods!

(Provided they are drunkard gods! Oh yeah.)

I gotta say, poutine has never been my favorite thing. But I do not live somewhere that poutine is an art form. Around here you’re lucky if the fries are done and the cheese is warm. Don’t even get me started on the horrors of gravy from a box. Thus, I had to try myself. Go rogue. Make it on my own. The results: very… very…. tasty.

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My first introduction to poutine wasn’t even poutine. I was in New York with a friend and we basically bounced from restaurant to restaurant for about an hour to find one that would seat us even though we weren’t interested in having a full meal. Finally we landed at a French bistro where we were treated to some amazing pommes frites with gravy. Oh, they were good. The gravy was so amazing, I wanted to buy a bucket of it to baptize myself.

So fries and gravy; good. But fries, gravy and cheese curds? Well, everything is better with cheese. (And I was told repeatedly tonight – bacon.) According to wikipedia poutine is, “a Quebec dish in which cheese curds are served layered on top of french fries, and melting under piping hot gravy.” The rest, is mechanics.

Mechanics are important. So, I decided to start with the best recipe for french fries that I know of even though I’ve never made them. They’re Emeril Lagasse’s Perfect Fries or something like that. They’re simple. They’re good. No argument from me. (I have rewritten the recipe for myself here because a) it’s not much of a recipe and b) it’s more fun to make a photo recipe.) The second part isn’t really rocket science either – buy some cheese curds – preferably of the “squeeky” variety.* The gravy is the big unknown. I had read that poutine gravy was supposed to be chicken gravy and I’d been wanting to see if you could make a good chicken gravy from grocery store chicken broth. And guess what? You actually can. Top off your meal with a pint and….

I say, get your bacchanal on and have yourself some poutine.

French Fries
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These fries are a lengthy process – but most of it is waiting time not working time.

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Cut 4 large russet potatoes cut into 1/4″ squared strips.

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Submerge your potato strips into ice water and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

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Put enough oil into a large pot to have enough to cover the fries but leaving 2″ (or more) at the top of the pan. (You want to go wide and deep here.) Heat oil to 325°f. Take the future fries out of the ice water and pat dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel.

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Dunk batches into the hot oil until they are pliable and won’t snap when you try to bend them. (This takes exactly 10 minutes for me.) Let rest for 15 minutes or more (up to 2 hours.)

Heat fryer oil to 350°f. Dunk fries (in small batches) into the oil until crispy (1 – 3 minutes.) Transfer from oil to a paper towel lined cooling rack. Salt to taste.

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If you’re not eating these in poutine, then I recommend tossing them in a bit of finely grated Parmesan and a tiny bit of garlic salt.

Gravy
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Hanne from Supper in Stereo has been conducting extensive poutine research and she advised me that the gravy must be piping hot. Looks piping hot to me!

1T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
salt
2 T butter
2 T flour
4 c chicken broth
1/2 c white wine
1 t chicken bullion
1 t spike seasoning (or other pepper based dry seasoning)
1/2 cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add in onions and sprinkle with salt. Cook until translucent. Add in butter. When butter is melted sprinkle in flour. When mixture begins to brown; whisk in 1 c chicken stock and stir until thickened. Add in 1/2 c of broth and stir until thickened. Keep adding in liquids and reducing in this method until you’re out of liquids. Add in spices and serve over fries and cheese curds.

* Cheese Curds
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“It’s not a real cheese curd if you don’t hear the squeek.”

“What?”

“The cheese curd – has to make a sound like a wet finger on glass.”

“What in the hell is a cheese curd?”

Large eye roll, voice continuing with more irritation, “If you were from Wisconsin you would know these things. A cheese curd is a lump of cheese that comes fresh from cheese factories right after the cheese is made. If you don’t hear the squeak then it’s not a real cheese curd.”

Okie dokie then.

One more picture of what you could be having for dinner tonight:
poutine2.jpg
Woo hoo!

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21 thoughts on “Poutine is food of the gods!

  1. Wow, those fries are beautiful!! I’m still a bit leary of frying (I’m a wimp I guess), but I think we might have to give it a try. They’re gorgeous. And your poutine looks super-delicious. About the chicken gravy– yeah, that’s always what we have around here. A few upscale places sometimes go crazy and use veal stock, but I think that’s unnecessary. The superlative poutine sauce is definitely the one at our favourite restaurant, “Au Pied de Cochon.” There, they whisk some foie gras sauce into the gravy, which makes it smooth and fatty and delicious, but a little guilt-ridden.

  2. When I first moved to Bangor, Maine, and saw fries and gravy on a menu (or fries, gravy, and CHEESE – which are called “French Canadian Fries)….I was really grossed out.

    But then I tasted homemade french fries with home made roast beef gravy.

    And I understood exactly why some of these mountain mamas have a weight problem.

    Wow. Good.

  3. Hi !

    I have had the pleasure of tasting poutine this summer while in Quebec, and I must say it is great.
    Who knew that French fries, gravy and cheese curd could make such a great combo…

    Thanks for the recipe, I am sure it will help me remember the great souvenirs I kept from this trip.

  4. SQUEAKY CHEESE! I knew there had to be some use for it other than just eating it plain!

    When I still lived in Southern Washington, The husband and I would make weekend trips to Tillamook Oregon to visit the cheese factory. I know you can buy cheese curds in a lot of places, but theirs, fresh from the factory are simply the BEST.

    I might just have to try this sometime… soon. My fries never end up as beautiful as yours look though. Those are some AMAZING looking fries!

  5. Heavy sigh…

    I keep hearing about this, all over the food blog world, but here in Australia, I have NO IDEA how to translate squeaky cheese curds into a local product!!

    I’ll just have to keep coming back here and licking the screen..

    pg

  6. Hanne – Wow. Foie Gras sauce. That’s something I would never think to do.

    I think being leary of frying is a good thing – doesn’t need to keep you from doing it though.

    And thanks for all your help!

    Outsider – lol. That is exactly what I was saying to a friend of mine. If I keep eating this I’m going to be huge!

    Jazz – You’re very welcome. That is one of my favorite things about traveling – coming home and trying to make the foods that you ate for yourself. Enjoy your souvenir!

    Muffin – Thank you! And, oddly enough, the picture of the sunset was taken just past Tillamook cheese factory, about 30 minutes south of there. I didn’t think to get any cheese curds though. That would have gone great with the beef jerky I had picked up from a farm stand in Washington. Oh well. Next time.

    pg – Wow, poutine flavored monitor. That’s an innovation I can get behind.

    I think in place of cheese curds you could use small chunks of manchego, fresh mozzarella or feta. Even if it wasn’t authentic I’m sure it’d be good.

  7. you know, poutine was a huge thing in Maine. I guess cause we were so near the border. I never enjoyed it growing up but I guess that is because we always went to a restaurant, my mum never made it. I bet my husband would love this. He comes from the west coast so I’m sure he has never heard of it.

  8. Wow, this looks …. — … strange. At least to my Australian eyes. Love chips. Don’t know what curds are. I have never really liked chips and gravy. We (I) eat them here with sweet chilli sauce or goddess mayonnaise. Maybe even a good tomato sauce. If your background is English you might eat them with mushy peas and gravy. Or make chip butties (chip sandwiches).

    I make wedges with cumin and black pepper. What I might try is your parmesan and garlic salt hint.

    Loved the way your post got me thinking about chips. Hungry now.

  9. I just happened across you by fluke, and lo and behold your most recent posting is a poutine-based musing.
    And while the pied du cochon with its poutine au fois gras is definitely my not-to-be-missed destination next time I’m in Montreal, do consider adding other standard options to your poutine (such as canned peas, my personal favourite).

  10. Lydia – I’m kinda amazed at the looks I’m getting when mentioning poutine. Most people think I’m making it up – but I’ll bet they’d like if if they tried it done this way!

    VegeYum – You are very welcome. Thinking about chips is a good thing – provided they’re good chips.

    Curds are cheese crumbles that are pulled off new cheese. Sweet chili sauce sounds good. I have no idea what goddess mayonnaise is. Do tell. Regardless – there are a ton of ways to make them and most of them are good.

    Jersey – I agree. Elevates a simple snack to a satisfying meal.

    Anouck – thank you so much for the info and the link! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz89dO1F7fs) That is too fun. You made my night.

    Krista – Excellent. I don’t know these things as I’m not in Canada. Thanks for all the info on variations – I’ll have to try them some time.

  11. Pingback: Poutine - Part 3 of 10 Great Things About Montreal « Supper In Stereo

  12. I have loved beef gravy on french fries for ages and I always get such weird looks when I request beef gravy with my fries. Come ON! who doesn’t love gravy on mashed potatoes? how is this different, i ask?

    well, apparently it is, but it never stops me. Now cheese curds (Must. Squeak.) on top of that? get outta here!

  13. I’m sure I have not had poutine in about 15 years!

    I grew up in Canada, so poutine was not an unusual thing…I know there was some fast food restaurant that served it regularly.

    Add some ketchup and vinegar and salt to the mix!

    I love gravy on my fries! But pretty much nowhere around where I live now – would consider serving them that way. Once in awhile if the planets collide and I happen to have gravy at the same time that I have french fries – I mix the two. Wonderful.

    I also love, love white vinegar on my fries…something else that is frowned upon in these parts. Try it – you’ll like it. My dh hates it but I’ve hooked the kids on it!

  14. I was lucky to live in Canada for a number of years and came to love preparing poutine. Now that I live in the mountains of Northern New Mexico I use local ingredients when I need a poutine fix. My current favorite is to chop up and brown spicy southern US style pork sausage and use the renderings to make a spicy cream gravy. The sausage goes back into the gravy. I use a soft spanish farmers cheese instead of curd, then the gravy sausage mixture, put under the broiler and then top with last falls roasted green chile puree. This is my current favorite for comfort food after snow shoeing or skiiing.

  15. The funniest thing about this recipe is I found it while searching for vegetarian recipes on your blog. Chickens ain’t vegetarian!
    lol

  16. Hello,
    I love your shots of Poutine and the desciptionn. I am a designer and my publisher (Green Mountain Edibless) is doing a story oon Poutine. I would like to use and image from your site. May I have your permission? I will credit your Web site or whomeever you like.
    Thank you.
    Serena Fox

  17. Pingback: Quick Bite: Poutine at Farm 255 | Eat It, Atlanta

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