Poutine, for you non-Candians or non-Northern Americans you may have never heard of Poutine. Poutine (pronounced poo-tin on the french side of Canada and poo-teen on the west side of Canada) is a dish created in Quebec during the 1950’s. It has 3 components: french fried potatoes, gravy and cheese curds a.k.a. squeaky cheese. Ever since I worked at Nancy’s Cafe back in the early 1980’s I’ve been a gravy and french fry eating girl. It just made sense, potatoes and gravy, what’s not to love about that? I also loved cheesy fries with other stuff, sort of french fry nachos (when you work in a restaurant you sometimes start creating odd items).
It wasn’t until I moved to Montana and started blogging that my regular french fry and gravy world got rocked. Rocked off it socks, hello? Did someone just add cheese curds to the french fries and gravy??? Like cheese is my most favorite food in the world, and only now I’m finding about this. Oh how I had been deprived! I got my first taste of these at one of my favorite Great Falls Restaurants, Bert and Ernie’s. Matter of fact I loved them so much that I am hard put to order anything else when I go there.
Poutine is that wonderful mix of comfort food with an odd little twist. I always imagined it invented by some drunks who needed to get food in their belly, it just seemed to be inspired by that state of mind. Wikipedia ruined that image for me when I found out that it was invented in a restaurant per a customers request. However it came about Poutine is good shit, I mean it’s like crack, once you’ve had it you will dream about this and become obsessed…you have been warned!
You’ll turn this:
So you can understand when I got my Secret Recipe Club assignment The Texan New Yorker, and I saw Poutine on her blog, I couldn’t bring myself to make anything else. Oh I’ve secretly pinned quite a few of her recipes including Mexican Lamb Barbacoa (I have my leg of lamb defrosting as I’m writing this) for consideration, but I couldn’t stop obsessing about the Poutine. Given that Julie is a self-confessed formerly picky eater I was amazed at the variety of tasty dishes she has on her blog. I really enjoyed reading her 200 recipe goals, I have a few of the same goals. Her list cracks me up because it lists more complicated dishes like gourgeres to ridiculously easy pigs in a blanket.
I have made pigs in the blanket numerous times but I have never attempted making my own Poutine. One thing I loved about Julie’s version was the baked fries, a more healthified version. I was excited to use her method of cooking the potatoes on a rack placed in a cookie sheet versus just on the sheet. It worked fabulous and there was no turning of the potatoes needed.
Julie’s version is actually a Poutine à l’étranger, that is Poutine with shredded cheese. Julie couldn’t find cheese curds in New York…even at a place called “Cheese’s of the World” really, wow?! Lucky for me we have a local creamery, Lifeline, in Victor Montana that makes fresh organic cheese curds. Shoot, you can cheese curds at almost any gas station here but then again we are almost in Canada, eh!
Making poutine is not just simply throwing gravy and cheese curds over some fries, on no! The gravy must be thin and clingy, not too heavy, a sauce brune (mix of beef broth and chicken broth). The cheese curds ALWAYS go on the fries first and then the gravy poured on top so that the cold cheese starts to get slightly melty. It must be this way, no exceptions.
I did made a couple of changes to Julie’s version, using part beef broth and part chicken broth (she called for one or the other), I added minced garlic so I omitted the Dijon mustard, and I also added a cornstarch slurry so that I could get a thinner gravy with just the right amount of clingy-ness. Worcestershire sauce is something I’ve never added to gravy before but it rounded out the flavors in this one, it’ll forever be in my Poutine gravy.
Ugh, I think I just drooled on my keyboard… Thanks Julie for inspiring me to finally make something on my recipe bucket list.
- 6 medium russet potatoes
- olive oil for drizzling
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh cheese curds
- Scrub potatoes well, peel if desired and batonnet (1/4" thick pieces). Soak potatoes in a large bowl covered with water for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Drain and dry potato batons. Toss potatoes in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes a single layer on a wire cooling rack fitted into a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Increase heat to 425°F and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
- For the gravy: In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and water together until the cornstarch completely dissolves, set aside. In a medium pot melt butter over medium heat, add garlic and shallot. Saute until soft and aromatic, whisk in flour and cook until hot and bubbly.
- In a bowl with a spout or large measuring cup mix the beef broth, chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Slowly whisk in the beef broth, chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute or until thickened. Pepper to taste.
- Assembly: Place fries in a wide bowl, or 'soup plate', sprinkle with cheese curds and cover with hot gravy.
- Grab a fork and dig in!
- Did you know to batonnet, is to square off and cut into 1/4 inch 'batons' and a true baton is between 2 1/2 to 3 inches long? Similar to a julienne, which is the smaller version of batonnet, typically 1/8 by 1/8 inches and 2 1/2 inches long and a fine julienne is 1/16 by 1/16 inches and 2 inches long.
Make sure to check out all the other great recipes this month!