So, can I just say how great it feels to finally be out of the closet as an immigrant? Still feeling like a huge weight’s been lifted from my chest.
You guys will reap the benefits, by the way, and today’s a great example. Aside from having to dance around where I went to school, and making sure I didn’t let a stray “u” end up in “flavor”, I balked at the idea of publishing some of my wholeheartedly Canadian recipes. Let me tell you, I have some great ones that I’ve been dying to share.
Poutine is.. well, honestly it’s probably the nastiest thing ever. It’s a 2am-going-home-from-the-bar kinda food. There is nothing redeeming in nutrition OR appearance. It’s not haute cuisine in the slightest. It may just end up clogging your arteries on sight. Sometimes, I’m kinda embarrassed that it’s sort of looked at as our national dish in Canada.
Oh, but it can be soooo good!
Done right, when you’re in the right mood for it, it can take the concept of “comfort food” to whole new levels. I’m pretty sure that making it for a boyfriend has a high chance of resulting in a marriage proposal – I know my husband would marry me all over again for poutine. (He actually proposed because I made him a sandwich. No joke – it was a muffaletta.)
Poutine is a pretty simple dish from Quebec, consisting of fries, cheese curds, and “gravy”. Sorry, I have to put that in quotes, as I’m a gravy snob. The most popular – and “correct” way of making the sauce, in Canada, is to use a packet mix.
I’m vehemently opposed to pretty much any sauce that comes from a powder (Aside from Swiss Chalet sauce, which I would probably *drink* if presented the opportunity), so here is how I make it, from scratch. Very much worth it!
A few notes, as I tend to bastardize things up quite a bit to suit my tastes:
– Traditionally, the sauce is a chicken based velouté sauce. I’ve *always* preferred a beef based sauce, as I find it has more flavor.
– The sauce is, as I’ve mentioned on Twitter, something that would make any foodie turn up their nose. Seriously, this is the closest thing to authentic that you’re going to get. I don’t want anyone to think that this is the sort of gravy that I turn out for anything other than Poutine. LOL
– Bacon and green onions are totally optional, it’s just the way I like it. I just figure A.) If you’re going this far anyway, might as well add bacon!, and B.) I love the extra flavor from the green onions. Feel free to omit either/both per your tastes.
– Cheese curds should be as fresh as humanly possible – a couple days old at max, if at all possible. Freshness and bringing them to room temperature ensures a nice squeak!
– Traditionally, poutine is made with a very light (blond) roux. Well, I prefer a darker roux (more flavor!), which this recipe is based on. The lighter the roux, the more thickening power, so if you want to go lighter, you’ll need a bit more broth than this recipe calls for.
– As with most of my “recipes” at home, I usually don’t measure anything. I did measure for the sauce this time around, to give you a base idea of what works. This makes enough sauce for 3-4 servings, feel free to double the recipe as needed. Other ingredients, just eyeball it all. You know how many fries you’d like in a serving!
– As a side note.. until I moved to Minnesota, I’d hear “Cheese curds” and think “poutine”. If not poutine, then eat em raw. I’d never in my life heard of battering and deep frying them (The Minnesota standard!), and still find the practice sort of.. bizarre 🙂
– Oh, also some random trivia: It’s not actually pronounced “Poo-Teen”, as most people think. It’s more like.. “poot-sin”. I confess, I’m lazy when it comes to using the accent as “necessary”, and usually just call it “poo-teen” also 🙂
Poutine, My Way!
Russet Potatoes, scrubbed clean
Cheese curds – about a handful per serving.
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Flour
2 1/4 cups Beef broth (canned or tetra pack)
1/8-1/4 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
Oil for deep frying
Green onions, thinly sliced
Cut potatoes into french fries, place into a bowl of cold water for about an hour. Remove cheese curds from fridge, allow to come to room temperature as you work on everything else.
Chop bacon into small pieces, fry until crisp. Set aside
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and pepper, stir well until fully incorporated. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until flour mixture becomes the color of peanut butter. This is called a roux, and cooking it to this level will impart a nice, somewhat nutty flavor to the sauce.
Once roux has obtained the right color, slowly add broth. It will steam like CRAZY, so be careful. Stir as you go, until sauce is smooth. Taste, add more pepper if necessary. Allow to simmer on medium heat for a few minutes, until slightly thickened. This is NOT supposed to be a thick gravy! Once the sauce is a good consistency, remove from heat and set aside.
For the fries:
Heat oil to 360 degrees F
Remove fries from water, blot dry. In small batches, cook fries for 10 minutes. This will NOT brown them, merely cook them. As each batch comes out, put aside.
Once all fries are par-cooked / blanched, turn the heat up to 375, and allow oil to reach temperature. In small batches, re-fry the potatoes until browned and crispy, about 3-5 minutes per batch.
Yes, it seems a little involved – but this is how to get fries that are cooked all the way through, and crispy on the outside!
To assemble the Poutine:
Mound hot fries on serving plate. Add a handful or so of cheese curds, stir slightly. Smother with sauce, top with bacon and green onions. Serve immediately.. then maybe call your cardiologist 🙂
|With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.
“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!
High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.
The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!