Saturday, July 24, 2010


Canadian Poutine

O Canada! With this delectable meal, you have most certainly won a place in our hearts (or recipe box) forever. Andy and I have been excited for Canada's national dish for weeks. I mean, what's not to like? Cheese curds? GOOD. French fries? GOOD. Gravy? GOOD. All three elements homemade? AWESOME (albeit quite time consuming). I made this dish on Friday, July 23. I started the process of making the homemade cheese curds at 1:45pm, and because they have to cool and then hang dry, we didn't end up eating until 8:30. So, if I had to pick two adjectives to describe this dish, I would have to say delicious and involved. If I could choose five more (and I can, for this is my blog), I would say savory, salty, addictive, mouthwatering and scrumptious.

Of the three components of the dish, I was most wary of the homemade cheese curds. Who knew that you could simply mix together 2% milk and vinegar and you'd get curds and whey? I really think that my curds could have used even more drying, maybe even overnight, but we were so hungry, we couldn't wait anymore. I did buy some backup curds in case mine didn't work out. We ended up putting both the homemade and the store bought curds on the poutine.

The fries were simple to make, but do require attention. The recipe I used for this poutine had a slightly different technique of making the fries than did Belgium's pommes frites recipe. I like the Canadian recipe's technique better.

The gravy was, in my opinion, what made the dish. I made a chicken gravy, which I have read is the more traditional way, but some poutines use beef gravy as well. I'm not sure if the inclusion of garlic is traditional, but it sure tasted amazing. The gravy was kind of thin, but was too impatient to let it thicken more. It still tasted great.

If you're interested in trying this, it would be really easy to make a simpler version: put store bought french fries on a plate, top with store bought cheese curds and smother in store bought gravy. YUM.

Canadian Poutine
Cheese Curds

-1 gallon 2% milk
-1/2 c. white vinegar
-1 tsp. salt

Cheese Curds Directions:
1) Heat milk to 190 degrees (turn off heat just before boiling if you don't have a thermometer)
2) Add vinegar and allow mixture to cool. (The curds should now separate from the whey.)

3) When cool, pour the mixture into a colander lined with a cheesecloth. Drain off the whey through the cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth into a ball, compressing the cheese in order to squeeze out the excess whey. Allow to hang for about 3 hours to drain and dry.

4) Cut open the cheesecloth and break the cheese into pieces. Pour the curds into a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.

Or, use these:

Fries Ingredients:
-4 medium potatoes, washed and sliced into lengths about 1/8" in diameter and 2-4" in length
-2 qts. vegetable oil

Fries Directions:
1) Cut potatoes and soak in cold water for 30 minutes.
2) Heat the oil in a Dutch oven to 350-375 degrees.
3) Remove fries from water and pat dry with paper towels.

4) Add half the fries to the hot oil and fry for 8-12 minutes until the float and become golden brown.
5) Remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, salt to taste, and place in a warm over while cooking the subsequent batch.
6) Add second half of fries to oil and repeat the process.

Gravy Ingredients:
-4 T. flour
-1 stick butter
-1 liter chicken stock
-3 garlic cloves, minced

Gravy Directions:
1) In a saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
2) In a small mixing bowl, combine flour with 1 c. stock. Whisk until smooth.
3) Slowly combine flour mixture with simmering butter and garlic. Whish to remove lumps. Cook 3-4 minutes to darken roux.

4) Add the remaining stock slowly while whisking until you have about 4 c. gravy.
5) Simmer for 10 minutes (or more, depending on how thick you like it), removing the "skin" with a spoon and whisking regularly.

Place the fries on a plate. Top with cheese curds. Ladle gravy over top. Let sit 2-3 minutes to let flavors meld. Relish.

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