Poutine: Canada's Favourite Food

Poutine from ''La Banquise'' in Montreal. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence.
Poutine from ''La Banquise'' in Montreal. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. | Source

The Glory of Poutine

For those who live outside of Canada, poutine is a surprising delicious concoction straight out of Quebec province that takes crisp deep-fried French fries, spread liberally with cheese curds and topped with hot beef gravy to melt the cheese. The resulting gooey "mess" is the glorious dish we call poutine. It sounds disgusting to some, but I've yet to meet anyone who's tried a properly made poutine and didn't immediately fall in love with the rich flavour and amazing combination of textures.

A proper beef gravy has the correct balance of flavour, texture and saltiness to unite the French fries and cheese curds into a harmonious dish. It is filling and due to the richness of this dish, it's recommended as a side order instead of a main. (But, that never stopped anyone from ordering a large poutine from the chip wagon and making a meal out of it!)


For a review of Wendy's poutine, click here.

Poutine in Mainstream Fast Food Restaurants

Chip wagons have cropped up from one end of Canada to the other, with the owners vying for the title of "Best Poutine". (For the record: My vote goes to Fergies Fries located in the Giant Tiger parking lot in Pembroke, Ontario. Having read this over my shoulder, the hubby cast his vote with "two thumbs up" for their poutine as well.)

Poutine has become synonymous with Canadian culture and, as such, grocery stores carry canned "poutine gravy" and restaurants include it on their menus, even if only as an "upgrade" to their regular selection of "fries and gravy." Recently, this has included the big chain restaurants of McDonalds, A&W, KFC, Burger King, and Wendy's.


Chili cheese fries. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Chili cheese fries. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. | Source

Variations

Accepted alternatives to this wonderful concoction include:

  • Substituting shredded mozzarella for the more expensive cheese curd;
  • Using mushroom gravy instead of beef gravy; and
  • Using chicken gravy.

Personally, I find that mozzarella doesn't add the same richness as cheese curds and alternative gravies tend to be too bland.


Having spread in popularity internationally, other variations include are more ... um .... "colourful" ingredients such as:

  • onions;
  • jalapenos;
  • feta cheese;
  • sausages;
  • Bolognese sauce;
  • chilli;
  • peas;
  • Cheese Whiz;
  • mayonnaise; and
  • curry.


There are also meat selections that some people add, which include hot dogs, ground beef, chicken, salmon, foie gras, lobster, and even caviar!?! One restaurant chain offers a version using melted Cheddar cheese and bacon bits which seems like a nauseating excess of grease. I've also heard horrifying rumours of French fry dishes from the USA that substitute Ranch dressing for the gravy!


Don't be fooled - these are not poutine! True poutine includes only French fries, cheese curds (or the accepted substitute of shredded mozzarella) and gravy. Period.


Give it a Try!

Don't have a chip wagon or restaurant nearby that offers poutine? Try this recipe at home. When you have the right balance between chewy-gooey cheese curds and a not-too-salty beef gravy, this dish is addictive and the perfect treat when you want "comfort food" that's quick and easy to make.


© 2012 I Am Rosa

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Comments 4 comments

ecocanadian profile image

ecocanadian 3 years ago from Toronto Canada

those kurds could get any Canadian drooling. thanks for helping to spread Canadian culinary knowledge :)


I Am Rosa profile image

I Am Rosa 3 years ago from Canada Author

Glad to share the Canadian experience ;-)


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

It's the first time I've heard of such food. But it looks really yummy with all the melted cheese curd. I think it's also easy to recreate that dish at home. Thanks for sharing. :)


I Am Rosa profile image

I Am Rosa 3 years ago from Canada Author

My pleasure, Chaz and thank you for becoming a follower! I look forward to reading your hub about "Those SEO Google Animals " - maybe I'll be able to figure out how to bring my views back up :-)

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