If you have ever been to a bar or greasy spoon in Montreal and trust me, I have been to a few in my time, then you know of the classic Quebec Poutine.
These babies are the unwritten, unheard of ultimate in comfort food, right up there with Mac & Cheese and Chili Cheese Fries.
The Poutine is the definitive bar grub that is the standard around the world, and good luck finding them if you don’t live north of the border or maybe Wisconsin or Las Vegas.
The traditional Poutine is nothing more than fries, brown gravy and cheddar cheese curds. But the myth ends there. Sounds easy? Well it’s not. Strict guidelines and meticulous procedure must be adhered to to create the classic and understated nosh that is Poutine, pronounced (pu-tu-en).
It all started as a casse-croutes in a tiny bistro located in Warwick, Quebec in 1957. Warwick is the cheese capital up there. If you can’t motor up there or find Poutines then let’s set the wheels in motion in your own kitchen. Oui?
First off is the fries. The indigènes du Québec, (That means natives of Quebec), use russets from Prince Edward Island. In our case, Idaho’s will do. They must be hand-cut and thick with skins on and fried in pure lard, Crisco will do. Fry them crispy.
The cheese curds must absolutely positively be fresh. If you’re familiar with cheese curds, then you know that curds make a squeaky sound when you eat them. Anything less and the curds are more than a day old. Down here, we may have to settle. Also, the cheese curds must be fresh, white cheddar cheese curds. They are a vital part of Poutine.
Finally, the gravy. Many French-Canadians cheat and buy a packaged brown sauce made by French-trained chefs called St. Hubert. If you head up that way, buy a couple packs, throw them in the cooler and bring them home. If not, you’re on your own.
1 Qt. Chicken Stock
2 Oz. Flour
2 Oz. Butter
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Bring the stock to a boil. In a seperate saute pan combine the flour, butter and pepper and make a pale roux. Whisk the roux in to the stock, add more pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Plate the French fries and spread about a half cup of fresh cheddar cheese curds on top. Ladle one cup of the sauce
over the top, sprinkle with some fresh cut parsley and voilà!
As this catches on down here, a few enterprising chefs, (Wink, wink) have taken it one step further.
I…I mean "They" have been adding a sunny side-up egg to top the Poutine and I…"They" also have used a Poutine as a topping for a good old-fashioned American Angus char-grilled burger. Say what? That’s right, a Poutine Burger.
So feast on Poutine, check out the slideshow and avoir un bon tout le monde.