Monday, January 12, 2009
French Canadian Magic
If you've never experienced the wondrous creation that is Poutine, you are missing out. Served in roadside shacks, bars and ski lodges in Quebec, a basic description is cheese fries with gravy, but it's so much more. It's gotten pretty trendy in the last year or so, so you'll probably see it on a bar menu at some point, but it may not be authentic. Here's the real deal, in three acts:
I. Fries. Skinny, shoestring fries. No potato wedges.
II. Cheese curd. This is difficult to find outside of Wisconsin or Upstate New York. Cheese curd is a very mild, white cheese that "squeaks" as you chew it. The beauty of the curd is that it's quite mild and it melts well without dissolving. If you can't get it, queso fresco is a decent substitute, and if you can't get that, get the mildest white cheddar or Monterrey jack you can.
III. Gravy: Canned please. In Canada, it seems to be a beef gravy with a bit of a tomato taste, but any canned gravy will work.
You can imagine how to make this: cook the fries, add the cheese, pour the gravy.
If you're as fascinated as I think you might be, check out the mack-daddy of poutine restaurants:
Chez-Ashton in Quebec. (Note: The "Galvaude" version is not for the faint of heart).