Recipe: Poutine

 

HISTORY OF POUTINE

There are many, unconfirmed claims to have invented the poutine, dating from the late 1950s through to the 1970s, in the Victoriaville area—about one hour outside of Montreal.

One thing is for certain: poutine was born in rural Quebec in the 1950s.

The most widespread story is that poutine originates from a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit in Warwick, in the Arthabaska region. In 1957, a client named Eddy Lainesse purportedly asked the cook, Fernand Lachance, to mix the cheese curds with the fries.

Another story relates to a long-standing restaurant called Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Quebec. The story claims that in circa 1964, restaurant owner Jean-Paul Roy saw some of his customers putting cheese curds on their French fries and gravy; this gave him the idea of creating the mixture himself and offering it on the menu. Jean-Paul Roy is the first person to have served poutine as we know it today. Authentic Canadian poutine features deep-fried potatoes, gravy, and white cheddar cheese curds tossed together into one dish.

Poutine has become increasingly popular in the last few years.

Although many people outside of Quebec pronounce poutine as “poo-teen”, the correct pronunciation—at least in Quebec—is “poo-tin”.

IMPORTANCE OF POUTINE

The poutine grew popular in the small towns of southeastern Quebec before arriving in Quebec City in 1969, and in Montreal in 1983. At that time, poutine became a common offering on menus in Quebec.

As poutine’s popularity spread, various iterations began to appear, such as Italian poutine (made with spaghetti sauce in place of gravy, or sausage), veggie poutine (made with mushroom sauce and vegetables) and Irish poutine (made with lardons). It now comes in a plethora of modern variations from duck confit to pulled pork, and is even served in fast food restaurants nation-wide.

Poutine is becoming a symbol of regional cultural diversity in Quebec.

HOW TO MAKE POUTINE

Making authentic poutine is not simply a matter of getting French fries, adding cheese, and pouring gravy on top: There are certain requirements for each of the three components in the meal.

1.  Prepare the gravy.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, to taste. Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready.

2.  Prepare the fries.

Choose potatoes that are good for frying: new red potatoes are ideal. Prepare potatoes by rinsing and cutting into 1/2-inch thick sticks. When ready to cook the potatoes, heat the oil in a heavy skillet or deep fryer. Add the potatoes and fry until a crispy golden brown. Set on paper towels or cloth towels to drain.

3.  Add the cheese curds and gravy.

Add fries to a large, clean bowl and cover with fresh cheese curds. The best curds are real Quebecois curds. Finally, top fries with hot gravy.

OPTION: Be creative and add meat and/or vegetables. 


By Song Zhe
Royal Roads University Student