Poutine: A Great Taste of Canada

Spring break is a time for surf, sun and never ending relaxation. At least it is for most people. But some people, like me, choose to travel to faraway lands where it snows more days than not and where Spring break temperatures don’t exceed -6°C.

That’s right, I’m talking about Canada.

The week I spent in Ontario and Quebec was jam packed with adventures and food. Lots and lots of food.

You may think that Canadian Cuisine is just like American but at a different latitude. Sure, there are similarities. But if I had to choose between the two, I would pick poutine and maple syrup over burgers and tater tots.

On my excursion I sampled some of the finest foods that Quebec and Ontario had to offer.

In Montreal, I learned how to say crêpe and sampled the flakiest croissant ever. It was standard French cuisine at its finest.

One of my favorite experiences was nestled in a cozy building on Avenue Duluth. The Café Chat L’Heureux, or the Cat Café, was an adventure in itself.

Cat Cafe

 

 

 

 

Cats roamed the dining room, although most of them slept, and patrons had the opportunity to sample deliciuex food while petting cats. What more could you ask for?

Cat Cafe
The café had vegan options and I ordered the Cat Gentleman, which consisted of feta, cheddar, pesto and grilled vegetables on a Panini. It was like a garden on a plate and it was fabulous.

My next big food liberation came 1,151 feet in the air at the top of the CN Tower. It was mostly the dessert that got to me, Maple Syrup Three Ways. Those ways were a cannoli, cheesecake and pie. You can’t possibly go to Canada without trying everything with the word maple in it.

The most amazing point in my food journey was found on every corner from Montreal to Niagara.

Poutine.

If you’ve never had poutine – a delicious concoction of French fries, gravy and cheese curds – you’re missing out on a life-changing experience.

It is my general observation that the best poutine comes from Quebec. You will never be disappointed and you’ll never look at poutine the same after you’ve eaten what the Quebecois have to offer.

Now, I’m not French Canadian and I don’t have a poutine recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation, but I did try my best to replicate.

 Gravy
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock

French Fries
3-4 medium potatoes
Frying oil

Toppings
1 cup white cheddar cheese curds (or however much you would like to put on top)

Directions

For the Gravy
Melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Allow to simmer for around two minutes. Pour in HOT! Beef stock and whisk. Do not boil or gravy will separate. Continue to stir until gravy thickens.

For French Fries
Cut potatoes in ¼- ½ inch sticks. Place in bowl and cover with cold water, this will make for crispier French fries. Let stand for around an hour or longer. Heat oil in deep fryer or heavy duty pot until it is 300°F.

Remove potatoes from water and remove excess water. Add to oil and cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove them from the oil and increase temperature to 375°F. Place potatoes back in oil and cook until they are golden brown. Place them in a bowl with a paper towel to remove excess grease.

To Prepare Poutine:
I don’t believe that there is an official way to prepare the dish, whatever works for you.

I prefer to mix the fries and cheese curds, and then add the gravy to the top and mix. Everything will be coated with hot gravy and the cheese curds will begin to melt.

Bon Appetite, here’s to the best poutine this side of the border. If you’re feeling extra adventuress add bacon or shredded chicken.

It’s not quite what you’ll find in the heart of Montreal but it’s pretty delicious.
Poutine
And when you’re done, you can finish off with a beavertail for dessert.

Happy Poutining!

— Hillary Terhune