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With Poutine What's Not To Like? - French fries, cheese curds and gravy mmmmmm...

Poutine recipe such as it is, at the bottom of the page 

I am surprised when I learn that dishes I hold dear and assume others do as well, turn out not to be liked at all by those others.  For example - take fries and gravy, the old standard in many restaurants in Canada.  In the US they do not serve gravy on fries except in some restaurants along the border.  If you ask for gravy with your fries in most places you are met by the server staring at you like you have two heads and one of them is making a face at him or her.

The gravy at KFC in Canada is different than the KFC in the States, regionally adjusted to the palates of the locals I assume, but I love KFC gravy regardless of the locale, though I don’t eat it but once or twice a year for fear of the massive coronary it could unleash if it was a regular accompaniment in my diet. But once or twice a year?  What could possibly go wrong? I seldom eat fries also, but if they’re fresh cut and good gravy is available, I’m your man. Then I feel guilty for days afterward but I get over it in time and get tempted and fail again.

As Susan and I were traveling through the Southwest States on vacation years ago, we stopped at a KFC for lunch. Once we got to the front of the line we placed our order with the teller, which included French fries and not mashed potatoes as is the norm apparently, then asked for gravy.   

The teller did a classic double take, pausing, then entering the additional item into the electronic register, she stopped, and again, thinking about our order no doubt, looked at both of us like we were two-headed aliens. She then took our money, surrendered the change and headed into the kitchen area.

Once she got close to the kitchen she spoke in a loud voice filled with incredulity to the person in the kitchen, “You won’t be believin’ what just happened!”

“Some guy ordered French fries and then axed me for GRAVY!!!” 


 “Can you be believin’ that?” Tisking and clucking as she spoke the words with apparent shock.

In a loud voice dripping with her heavy accent she then opined, “I ain’t never been axed for gravy for fries ever before!” 

“Unbelievable!” the disembodied voice from the kitchen gasped.

She then offered up her reason for someone ordering such a combination of foods in a voice loud enough to be heard next door, “Must be from Minnesota!”

She returned with the small Styrofoam container of gravy placing it in front of my like it was a radioactive ball of uranium then turned and walked away (waddled really) shaking her head side to side in disbelief. We left laughing at the commentary we endured and I am sure if we had asked for some cheese to go with the fries and gravy it would have tipped her over like a cow in a cow-tipping contest. 

Recently our youngest daughter celebrated her 15th birthday and since the custom in this house on your birthday is to order whatever you want dad to cook she ordered poutine. And so it was prepared and enjoyed by all....


About 1 pound of russet potatoes per person (yes I said 1 pound) washed, leaving skin on

Fresh cheese curds (about 2 ounces per person) warmed to room temperature (see notes at bottom of page)

Gravy of your choice, brown gravy is the best however  (see notes at bottom of page)

Deep fryer oil heated to 275 degrees F

Slice potatoes into french fry size according to your preference.  I use my OXO Good Grips Mandolin Slicer which makes a perfect french fry and does it fast.
Once all the potatoes are sliced place them into a bowl of ice cold water and let soak for one hour.
Drain the water from the potatoes and then spread out on a dry towel and let dry at room temperature for at least one hour. Toss once in a while to get all the fries turned over and well dried. This is important!!! (see notes at bottom of page)

Make your gravy then set aside to keep warm on a low flame.

Place a batch of now dried potato fries into your pre-heated deep fryer set to 275 degrees to blanch them.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes, until the potatoes are just barely cooked.

Remove the blanched fries from the oil and set aside to cool. Now you may think by looking at them that they will be greasy. Nay, nay. They will be just fine. Trust me. Once all potatoes are blanched, let them cool to room temperature then crank up the heat on the deep fryer to 375 degrees F.

Place a batch of cooled blanched fries into the hot oil and cook until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel or use a grate to allow them to drain for a few seconds.

Place the hot and drained french fries into a bowl and place the cheese curd on top.

Pour some gravy over top of the cheese and fries.

Now enjoy!!!!!

 Notes at bottom of page:

In this region we can purchase a great tasting packaged gravy mix called Sylvia's Perfect French Fry Gravy and it is frigging great.
I make it according to the package instructions except (you knew there'd be an "except" didn't you?) instead of using water I use a no sodium beef stock, either home made or Campbell's No Salt Added Beef Broth.
Made like this it is fantastic and is easy-peasy.  I have made a demi-glace from scratch for poutine as well and it is beyond great but it takes nearly 2 days to make! So Sylvia's it is and it really is good.

If you can't locate Sylvia's Prefect French Fry Gravy then source what you can or make it from scratch.

Note on room temperature cheese curd: When the cheese curd is at room temperature or warmer it will melt nicely into the poutine utilizing the heat from the gravy and the french fries.  I like the curds melted slightly so I will pop them into the oven for a minute to warm thoroughly, but not melt before adding them to the poutine.

Also use cheese curds and not mozzarella!!! Mozza is for pizza, not poutine. Cheese curds give a great squeaky bite when fresh, hence their nickname - Squeakers.  We love squeakers and use them on lasagna, mac and cheese and other ass-fatteningly great dishes that call for cheese. So take the time to hunt down some squeakers and enjoy the squeak...

Note on drying french fry cut potatoes:  Not rocket science really.  If the fries are dried completely they take on less oil according to urban myth but I do it because it is less likely to boil to oil over the top since the excess water has been removed.  Safety First!!!!

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