Sharing our French Canadian heritage with a monthly recipe from our childhood, hoping to inspire similar traditions and memories for our daughters
Have you heard of Poutine, (pooh-tin) what is becoming dubbed as the quintessential Canadian dish? In my youth, (not so long ago, despite what the girls think) it could only be found in Quebec, and had made its way into French pockets of a couple of other provinces. I remember how much of a treat it was when we visited our extended family and stopped at a road side chip stand to order some. Today, even McDonalds has it on their menu.
You could easily be tempted into describing it as fries with gravy and cheese - some restaurants (though less and less) will try to pass that off, and even at home we have been known to make some off the cuff with whatever cheese is in the fridge. But to be a true poutine, you need cheese curds.
Cheese curds are also know in our family as "squeaky cheese" - according to Wikipedia, we aren't the only ones to use the moniker. Cheese curds are bite size bits of salted cheese, with a springy firmness. They are best eaten fresh, at room temperature and make a great treat. When at their best, they squeak in your mouth as you chew - hence squeaky cheese. Kids love this! Ok, some of us adults do too. If you ever taste a cheese curd without the squeak, do not make the mistake of writing them off, you just need to get your hands on a fresh batch.
We're lucky, because poutine can now be found commonly at pubs, diners, and fry shacks. We even have a "poutinerie" that offers dozens of variations -Italian poutine, Nacho Grande poutine, philly cheesesteak - to name a few odd yet tasty twists. But it's traditional poutine we all love, and if you can get your hands on some cheese curds, you can make a passable version at home. (Let's face it, fries from a chip stand are the best)
With only 3 ingredients, you want to make sure you use good ones. We aren't going to start making fries at home, so we splurge on "high end" red skinned frozen fries :) Sometimes we cheat all the more with store bought canned poutine gravy, other times we use this recipe with chicken stock for the sauce. And of course, we head to the farmers market for fresh cheese curds, one bag for poutine and a second to
fight over snack on.
How to make Poutine
- Cook your fries according to package directions.
- Plate them, and sprinkle liberally with cold cheese curds (that way they hold their shape when..)
- Pour poutine sauce/gravy over the fries and cheese.
- Dig in!
This one was a pretty easy recipe for the girls to remember :)
Pea and Serge also like to use ketchup. In Pea's case, copious amounts:
You can find our other French Canadian recipes here.