Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 31-Canada(NA)! Poutine (Fries, gravy & cheese -not for the diet conscioius) - Up Next, Cape Verde (EU)

Marty McSorley, Canadian Tough Guy, and muse for one of my favorite Kathleen Edwards (also a Canadian tough guy) songs, "I Make the Dough, you get the Glory"

Poutine - 'peu-tin' (French Fries with Gravy and Cheese)

First, a disclaimer: Should anyone venture to try this recipe, do not blame me if after the first bite, your arteries instantaneously clog and harden. I suggest indulging in  this snack as one would any sinful temptation: with a pinch of guilt and a gallon of pleasure, making sure not to think about the consequences until after it's a done deal. What he said: "The Devil made me do it."
Flip Wilson
Second, a humble admission: Although I have tried to stay true to the preparation of this recipe, many of these ingredients are only available in Canada. And, while I cannot physically be in our beautiful neighboring country to make Poutine, I shall do my best to transport myself  there in spirit and soul. Does it count that I'm a long suffering hockey mom who gets up at 4 a.m. on  frigid February mornings to drive my son to sub-zero rinks? Can I get some Canadian Cred?  

 Bobby Orr was indeed an iconic Boston Bruin, but he was born in Perry Sound, Ontario
Pictured above, his sister, Sadie (Sarah) Orr

 Alors, mes amis Canadiens, j'espère faire votre beau pays la justice tout en préparant cette recette.

About the Country (the abbreviated version): Covering most of the northern part of the North American continent and with an area larger than that of the United States, Canada has an extremely varied topography.

The first inhabitants of Canada were native Indian peoples, primarily the Inuit (Eskimo). The Norse explorer Leif Eriksson  reached the shores of Canada  in 1000, but the history of the white man in the country actually began in 1497, when John Cabot, an Italian in the service of Henry VII of England, reached Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Canada was taken for France in 1534 by Jacques Cartier. The actual settlement of New France, as it was then called, began in 1604 at Port Royal in what is now Nova Scotia; in 1608, Quebec was founded.  During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), England extended its conquest, and the British general James Wolfe won his famous victory over Gen. Louis Montcalm outside Quebec on Sept. 13, 1759. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 gave England control.  In 1849, the right of Canada to self-government was recognized. For a more extensive history of Canada:
About the carb 'n fat laden Poutine: Pronounced 'peu-tin', this French Canadian food was conceptualized in Warwick, Quebec and named after restaurateur, Fernand Lachance (I LOVE that name) as a snack food - kind of the U.S. equivalent to McDonald's fries with ketchup.  The word Poutine is Acadian slang for mushy mess. According to many of the websites I visited, Poutine MUST be made using authentic Canadian ingredients and only tastes good when eaten in French Quebec or Maillardville. For example, the gravy is made from a powdered mix (not available in the U.S) and the potatoes must be Prince Edward Island grown. Additionally, it MUST be served in a disposable, Styrofoam bowls or cups. Clearly, I'm going to have to suspend my environmental and dietary beliefs to make this treat. I also came across evidence that Anthony Bourdain (my idol) has prepared and eaten Poutine, and that's good enough for me.Anthony, if you're reading this, my cell # is...

The basic ingredients: Deep fryer, Farmer's Cheese (in lieu of Curd), Russet potatoes (from Montana, not from PI), butter and flour - not pictured, beef broth

Try as I might, I could NOT get fresh curd. I followed a web tip that Whole Foods in Bellingham carried cheese curd, but alas, I was told that they don't carry it because it has a 2-3 day shelf-life and there isn't enough demand. As a close second (unacceptable if you're a purist), I bought some Farmer's cheese - very good, but not the same. Then, I tried to find Russet potatoes from Prince Edward Islands, but the best I could do was Russets from Montana. As for the gravy, I adlibbed  and used a little Gravy Master to add flavor and 

Parboil sliced potatoes for 4 minutes, then rinse under cold water and cool completely

Meanwhile make a roux with flour and butter, then add beef stock- I added a splash of Gravy Master for color 
Deep fry potatoes at 360 degrees until beautiful and crispy brown

Drain and place in paper cup-then top with gravy and crumbled cheese
The BIG DOG, Ian, going for more gravy

Do I look guilty about feeding my family fat and carb loaded food? Nahhhhh, I know CPR!

The world map in my office - a wonderful graphic point of reference!



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Idaho white potatoes, peeled and cut
  • 1/2 pound fresh cheese curd


In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the butter and flour. Stir until incorporated. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes for a dark roux. Stir in the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Peel the potatoes and cut fries, 4 inches by 1/2-inch. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and blanch for 4 minutes. Remove, drain and cool completely. Fry the potatoes until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, mound the fries into the individual (16-ounce) disposable cups. Spoon the gravy over the fries and crumble the cheese. Serve immediately.

Final Assessment: Somebody call a cardiologist! We loved it!! Someday I hope to get to Canada to try the real thing.

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