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Bacon and other Good Eats Cooking, recipes, how-tos, etc

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Old 09-17-2016, 12:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey Canada, how do you make the PERFECT Poutine?

So I had heard of poutine many times here on MCB from our wonderful Canadian contingent. Never had it, until a few weeks ago. Local cafe/bar added it to their menu, so I gave it a try. Now I know they didn't do it quite right (they deep fried the cheese curds first, or more likely a fried frozen pre-breaded cheese curd, it's not exactly a high class cafe), but still, much yum.

Want more.

Want it "correct".

So, in as obsessively pedantic of language as possible, how would you make the PERFECT poutine?

A classic poutine, not some fancy poutine inspired dish with lobster or foie gras and truffles on it.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's just French fries, raw cheese curds like you find in any Midwest grocery store and gravy hot enough to melt those cheese curds.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Classic poutine is very simple and consists of three things.

1. Fresh cut fries deep fried to perfection, quick dry to get some oil off of the surface.
2. Fresh Cheese Curds, room temp.
3. A chicken based gravy, not too thick and not too thin. A substantial gravy, but not so thick it won't work it's way down between the cheese curds and fries.

Because it is so simple, it is very hard to get right. The biggest killer is usually the fries followed closely by the gravy. Unless you are somehow finding terrible cheese curds, those are not likely the issue. If the ingredient temp and timing of combination is off, it can also be a problem to a true connoisseur.

Personally I like the "Montrealer" poutine, which is just a classic poutine with a handful of smoke meat , mustard, and a pickle on top.

EDIT: The gravy should not be so hot as to completely melt the cheese curds! They should get soft, not melty!
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"Gravy"

Poutine sauce is gravy-like, but gravy it is not. I don't know the secret to the sauce, but I have a Quebecois friend who is a bit of a connoisseur. He's from Sherbrooke, had a friend who worked in a cheese factory, would get poutine at the factory, with curds fresh that morning, still warm. Fresh cheese curds, properly fresh, are squeaky, and not melty or stringy.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Squeaky cheese curds are no problem, I'm about 30 miles from the Ellsworth, WI the "cheese curd capitol of Wisconsin" as the sign in front of the town proclaims. And their creamery makes a damn fine squeaky curd.

Now the fries, that's a pretty wide category. More "home style" (darker brown, a bit more tender, single fried), or the blanched and fried again style (golden brown, crisper on the outside)? Shoestring, small, medium, or steak fries?

I see what you mean about the "sauce", unfortunately not something they sell at the local supermarket here.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ah right, we have a client from Wisconsin and they've sent us cheese baskets before, so you've got that covered. I'll have to query him if he's found any passable sauces lately, see if there's any thing authentic you can buy or if he's found a good recipe lately.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's like the consistency of fast food gravy. Much thinner then the stuff you'd get in a jar or a can.

I know it sounds blasphemous, but KFC gravy is an easily available approximation, at least in texture.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I was growing up, one of the local restaurants had a version they called "Mozza Fries". Kind of the same idea as a regular poutine, but the gravy (thinner chicken gravy I think) went on the fries first, than pizza mozzarella was baked on top. Many fond memories of those fries.

When I finally encountered the more common poutine later in life, two things happened.
One: I learned that people outside of my small town had no idea what mozza fries were, and thought I was just confused.
Two: My disappointment that typical poutine isn't as good as the Mozza fries of my younger days.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It 100% is gravy. It's just specially seasoned and a certain thickness. Each place has their own gravy recipe and it seems to be some sort of mix between chicken, beef and vegetable gravies. It is certainly not a pure beef or pork gravy though. The test for the viscosity is to dip your spoon into the gravy, pull your finger in a finger across the spoon and it should just barely not fill in the removed area. It is thicker than a homemade gravy from drippings but not quite as thick as the KFC stuff. As far as off the shelf gravy goes, my favourite in a can gravy thus far is definitely the St. Hubert Less Salt Poutine Gravy. Not sure if you can get it outside of the eastern provinces, I know it is available in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for sure.

Fries are typically single fry after soaking to remove some of the starches. Again place to place varies but they are typically in the order of 3/8 x 3/8. Significantly smaller or larger throws the flavour balance off in my experience.
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Old 09-17-2016, 01:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keys_JR View Post
Classic poutine is very simple and consists of three things.

1. Fresh cut fries deep fried to perfection, quick dry to get some oil off of the surface.
2. Fresh Cheese Curds, room temp.
3. A chicken based gravy, not too thick and not too thin. A substantial gravy, but not so thick it won't work it's way down between the cheese curds and fries.

Because it is so simple, it is very hard to get right. The biggest killer is usually the fries followed closely by the gravy. Unless you are somehow finding terrible cheese curds, those are not likely the issue. If the ingredient temp and timing of combination is off, it can also be a problem to a true connoisseur.

Personally I like the "Montrealer" poutine, which is just a classic poutine with a handful of smoke meat , mustard, and a pickle on top.

EDIT: The gravy should not be so hot as to completely melt the cheese curds! They should get soft, not melty!
i thought it was brown gravy not white gravy. but any type of good homemade gravy will work better since made with love.
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