Food&Drink writer Kitty Collingwood gives an insight into the deliciously indulgent Canadian dish, Poutine, and why she is bringing it home from her year abroad
Poutine is a much-loved Canadian delicacy that originated in the 1950s from the province of Quebec in the east of the country. The name ‘poutine’ comes from the French slang word of the same name, which means ‘a mess’, and came about after a diner in a Quebec restaurant asked the chef to add cheese curds to his order of fries.
At surface level, it may appear to be just chips, cheese, and gravy, but this wonderful savoury concoction is so much more than that! Crispy fries topped with squeaky cheese and smothered in a warm thick gravy make every bite just as delicious and indulgent as the last.
There are so many variations and ways you can adapt this base recipe to make it your own. You can even use frozen chips or instant gravy if you are short on time or ingredients.
Serves 4-6 people.
For the chips
- 5kg Maris Piper potatoes
- Cheese curds – if you cannot find cheese curds anywhere, a block of mozzarella cheese torn into chunks will work perfectly as a substitute. The only thing to avoid here is Cheddar, because you want the cheese to remain soft in pieces and not melt away into the gravy!
- Sunflower oil, for frying
For the gravy
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 450ml beef stock
1.Start with the potatoes by roughly cutting them to make chunky chips. For the fries, I find it better to leave the skin on the potatoes, but this is completely optional.
2.Fill a bowl with cold water and place the cut chips into the water so that they are completely submerged. Ideally, they should be left in the cold water for a minimum of 15 minutes, or up to an hour if you have time.
3.When the chips have soaked, remove them from the water and place on a kitchen towel. Make sure to pat any excess moisture out so that they are completely dry and ready to be cooked.
4.To make the gravy, melt down the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Season the melted butter well with salt and pepper. Once it has melted, add in the flour and cook for about one minute. Gradually, add the stock slowly, making sure to stir the pan constantly to avoid any lumps forming.
5.When all the stock is added, cook this for about five minutes or until you reach the desired thickness.
6.Once you are ready to start cooking the chips, turn the gravy down to a low heat.
7.Place the sunflower oil into a large pan so that the pan is about half full. Heat it until it is sizzling.
8.Depending on the size of your pan, place some or all of the chips in the hot oil to fry. If your pan is on the smaller side, you simply need to repeat the frying process in batches. Do this until all the chips have been fried in the hot oil.
9.After each batch of potatoes has been fried for 10-12 minutes, remove the chips from the oil and lay them down on a wire rack covered with some kitchen paper.
10.Once all the chips have been cooked once, repeat the process again but this time increase the temperature of the oil slightly. Again, in small batches if needed, fry them for about five more minutes or until they are golden brown.
11.Drain the cooked chips of any excess oil and then sprinkle them with some sea salt.
12.To serve, place the chips into bowls and pour over the warm gravy. Then, top the bowls with the pieces of cheese and enjoy.
Poutine is considered by many as one of Canada’s greatest inventions, and this simple recipe is the perfect way to bring a taste of Canadian culture to your kitchen.
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