Poutine is a favorite by Canadians and non-Canadians alike. But as long as you have access to fresh cheese curds and hot fries, it's easy to make at home!
Happy Canada Day! It's that time of year again where I share a recipe for one of my favorite Canadian recipes, and also the day my family walks around all day in matching red Canada t-shirts. Today I'm sharing a recipe for an indulgent Canadian food that many outside of Canada too know and love. Today I bring you Traditional Canadian Poutine.
All the years I lived in Canada, I never made my own poutine. That's because it was pretty easy to come by, even in Alberta although it's most popular where it originated, in Quebec. In any case, I could get delicious poutine at The Cheese Factory restaurant near my house, or even at the Costco food court! Since moving to Wisconsin, I have taken to making it myself. It's not that I can't buy poutine anywhere, as a few local restaurants do have it on their menu, it's just that I don't particularly like the versions they offer. I have yet to find a TRADITIONAL poutine offered on a menu - one that has only fries, curds and gravy. They all come with extras, like some sort of meat, or veggies, or the gravy is subbed for some other type of sauce. Don't get me wrong - duck confit is great, I just don't want it in my poutine.
I'm actually surprised that poutine isn't more popular here. I mean, this is Wisconsin - there are obviously cheese curds everywhere! I think maybe it's the Canadian tradition of putting gravy on fries that some people can't get past. Just try it - it's good! I promise. Until I can find an acceptable version of poutine in a restaurant, I will continue to make my own. Luckily it's super easy.
All you need to make traditional poutine is fries, cheese curds and gravy. Since I haven't found a good way to make really good, crispy fries at home, I buy them. From my local gas station. Get your fries where ever you like, or make them yourself. You just want to make sure they're still steaming hot. And luckily for me, curds are very easy to come by in Wisconsin. Buy them as fresh as you can so they're still squeaky, and keep them out at room temperature for a few hours before you make your poutine so they don't cool down the fries and gravy too much. Speaking of gravy, it's the only part I make myself. And to call it "homemade" might be a bit ambitious. I mean, it's not like I'm making it from beef drippings or anything. All you need to make it is butter, flour, onion powder and beef broth concentrate or bouillon cubes. In about 10 minutes, you'll have hot, beefy gravy to pour over your fries and squeaky curds.
Traditional Canadian Poutine
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons beef broth concentrate or 2 beef bouillon cubes I use Better Than Bouillon, preferably reduced sodium
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces (225 grams) fresh cheese curds, at room temperature
- 1 pound (454 grams) cooked French fries
- Add beef broth concentrate or bouillon cubes and water to a glass measuring cup or microwave safe container. Microwave until water is very hot, 1-2 minutes. Stir to dissolve.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and onion powder and cook for 1-2 minutes. Very slowly whisk in the beef broth, adding it in small amounts at a time and whisking each addition in completely before adding more to prevent lumps. When all the broth has been added, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Cover until ready to use.
- Place fries in a shallow bowl or large plate. Spread cheese curds over the fries. Pour gravy over top the fries and curds. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I try my best to make sure the nutrition information I provide is accurate to provide you with the best information possible. However, due to ingredient discrepancies and other factors, the above nutrition information should be considered an estimation only.
Poutine Nutrition Notes
I bet you're thinking, "wow, I thought poutine would be worse for me than that!", but keep in mind that this nutrition info is for a reasonable (small) portion. MUCH smaller than you would get if you ordered poutine in a restaurant. Sometimes my hubby and I will split the above recipe in two instead of 4 (because poutine doesn't reheat well, obviously 😉), but keep in mind then you're doubling all the numbers you see above. Even at the small portion, you're still getting almost a day's worth of saturated fat, and half a day's worth of fat. Yikes! Moral of the story: only eat poutine occasionally. Like on Canada day.
I lived in Montreal for two years and loved every minute of it-- especially the poutine. I wish I could recreate this, having moved back to the States. But the problem is I live in L.A. They have "poutine," on menus but none of it is authentic. It's always "innovative," or "upscale." And as an adopted-Quebecois I know the real thing. Also, the few times I find cheese curds in the grocery store, it's always cheddar. :\
So be glad you live in Wisconsin where at least they understand all things cheese.
I totally know what you mean! There are several restaurants in Madison that have "poutine" but they all have things like foie gras or pulled pork or beef brisket. Some aren't even made with gravy! Anyway, I am definitely glad I have ready access to good, fresh curds to make my own.