As a Canadian, I should be ashamed of myself. I just found out that the beginning of February (the first week, in fact) was La Poutine Week and I almost forgot! How dare I forget a week gloriously slathered in crispy-on-the-outside fries, tangy cheese cruds, and salty gravy…mmmmmmmmm! Please forgive me.
Now, if you’re not familiar with Poutine, prepare to have your senses wowed by one of Canada’s most mouth-watering dishes. Initially made famous in the province of Quebec, this potato concoction features French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It really is the most excellent finale to a night of drinking. Now classic poutine always includes cooked then cured cheese curds and salty poultry gravy, but restaurants across Canada continue to try and “out-poutine” the traditional recipe by adding gourmet toppings like pulled pork, Montreal smoked meat, foie gras, kimchi, a fried egg, bacon bits, and more!
Prepared by Le Gourmet Burger, a restaurant situated amongst Montreal’s Concordia University hustle and bustle, this specialty poutine begins with the classic poutine ingredients: crispy French fries, squeaky cheese curds, and piping hot gravy. However, the addition of sautéed mushrooms and smoked bacon give it a decadent edge and the sweet and spicy chipotle sauce and fresh thyme take this poutine to “exceptionnelle” new proportions.
This poutine riffs on the classic Montreal-style poutine–with fries, gravy and gooey cheese curds–and gives it a spicy edge that takes it far south of the Canadian border. Instead of plain old white potato fries, use spiced sweet potato fries topped with browned chorizo sausage broken up into meaty chunks, and shredded queso blanco cheese (white cheddar). Once the cheese melts, slather in your favorite chunky salsa (your choice of mild, medium, or picante), chopped cilantro, and we suggest adding sour cream.
The traditional Quebecois poutine gets a gourmet twist at New York’s French bistro, DB Bistro Moderne. The proud trio of crispy French fries, oozing cheese curds, and scorching meat gravy gets some sinful sidekicks in shredded duck confit, chopped onions, sautéed mushrooms, tangy cheese curds, a fried sunny side up egg, and a drizzle of duck jus. Oooo la la!
This poutine whisks us to Canada’s East Coast, but you won’t get a sunburn or a case of untamed beach hair. I must say combining lobster and poutine is a brilliant plan. You may want to cut and fry your potatoes thick for an authentic Prince Edward Island (P.E.)E.) feel. Instead of class brown gravy, these fries are covered in a hot melty cheese sauce of gruyere and fontina cheese with a pinch of Old Bay seasoning. Break sweet, succulent lobster claw and tail into chunks and flash sautéed them with a bit of butter to crown your poutine.
Austin, Texas’ famous Chi’Lantro food truck offers a truly remarkable Korean-Mexican-Texan mash-up in poutine form. Chef and owner, Jae Kim, crowns crispy fries with the bold flavors of caramelized kimchi (fermented veggies) coated in a sauce of sugar, vinegar, chile paste and soy sauce. Korean style rib-eye beef is marinated in onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil, fried in a skillet, and then arranged atop french fries and drizzled with Sriracha mayonnaise, cheddar, onion, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.
The Canadian dish with a South Asian twist! This gourmet poutine features the exotic tastes of chicken tikka by marinating and grilling chicken in a marinade of yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and red chilli powder. Crispy fries are seasoned with paprika masala and Indian rock salt for extra kick then topped with cheese curds, St. Hubert-brand canned gravy, cubed chicken, and fresh cilantro.
I couldn’t leave this article without an aptly, cheeky recipe with a cheeky poutine name. Hence the Pootie Tang, care of SUWU Restaurant and Bar, in Montreal. As trashy as the name might imply, the actual ingredients are nothing but total class. Crispy rosemary fries, bacon slices and more bits, and fried cheese curds. This poutine is finished with a Sortilège and maple sauce, which is a Canadian whisky and pure maple syrup sauce that’s blended in perfect Canadian harmony.