Poutine is a Canadian dish which originated in Quebec. It basically consists of french fries with cheese curds on top, smothered in gravy. It is sold everywhere throughout Canada (even by McDonald’s!).
Because it’s so popular, it is very easy to buy frozen or fresh cheese curds and cans of poutine sauce in Canada. Not so in most regions of the US. We have to make our own cheese curds and our own gravy. But the result is amazing. Poutine is the ultimate comfort food!
For a fabulous recipe with gorgeous pictures: How to Make the Ultimate Poutine by Joshua Bousel at Serious Eats.
There are only 3 components to a basic poutine:
You can use any french fried potatoes you want – baked, fried, frozen, etc. There are a million ways to prepare french fries. In Quebec, they like to use red potatoes from Manitoba, cooked in vegetable or canola oil.
If you have a grill, you might want to follow the directions in this video for making your own french fries:
If you live in Wisconsin, you can buy both fresh and frozen cheese curds everywhere (but you can still make your own!).
We think the most detailed recipe is the one by Jim Wallace in the recipe section of our website – click here.
It’s much easier than you might think. Here’s a quick look at the basic process:
1. Heat 2 gallons of milk to 96F.
2. Add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride. (Optional; If you want more color in the curds add 1/4-1/2 tsp of annatto cheese coloring at this point)
3. Add 1 packet of thermophilic culture C-201 and let this ripen for 30 minutes.
5. Add 1/2 tsp rennet and stir gently for 30 seconds.
The milk will begin to gel in 6-10 minutes and a full set ready to cut in 18 -25 minutes.
6. When firm, cut the curds into 3/4 inch cubes and stir 5 minutes.
7. Cook the curds to 116F slowly over the next 30 minutes (starting out at 2F every 5 minutes and then increasing the heating rate as the curds dry out)
8. Continue to stir the curds for the next 30-60 min at 116F to increase firmness.
9. Drain in cheesecloth and bundle by tightening the cloth.
Press with a weight of 1 gallon of water (aprox. 8 lbs) and let set 1-3 hours.
10. Now break the curds into small bite size pieces and toss with a bit of salt (to your taste) and they are ready to eat.
Poutine Sauce (Gravy)
It is widely acknowledged that the best sauce involves 2 parts beef broth to 1 part chicken broth. Here’s a basic recipe (with beautiful pictures) from Seasons & Suppers:
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable oil (you can also make this half vegetable oil and half butter or any combo of the two)
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
20 oz beef broth
10 oz chicken broth
Pepper, to taste
Optional additions include 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup minced onions (cooked in the butter before the cornstarch is added), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 cup beer (Guinness Draught comes highly recommended).
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter.
3. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown.
4. Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk.
5. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
6. Season with pepper. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, to taste.
Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready.
As you can imagine, there are a million different ways to make your poutine. One fairly common variation is to add fried hamburger under the gravy and cheese. Yum!
For the more adventurous cooks, here’s an article with 21 Types of Poutine.