Actually, before I get started, I’m not sure if everyone even knows what poutine is. I know it’s a Canadian food – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it in say… Asia. However, given that the last time I was there was about 8 years ago, my knowledge base is pretty unreliable. I hope everyone’s had a chance to have it though, because it is absolutely delicious and mouth-watering and addictive and tasty and wonderful and…
A poutine is fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy. It originated in Quebec, and there have been variations as to the toppings – usually meat. I prefer my poutines with just cheese and gravy, though. New York Fries is probably the best known poutine franchise. Despite its name, it is a Canadian company.
I didn’t discover poutine until middle school. My parents, being very traditional Chinese parents, served me very typical Chinese food. I had toast for breakfast, but for every other meal, I had the same white rice with Chinese side dishes. We at dinner at home mostly. When we did venture out, it was for Chinese food – Chinese restaurants, dim sum, perhaps the occasional Vietnamese pho. I had my first crepe in the 12th grade, as well as my first shepherd’s pie. I’d never had pad thai until I met Dark 4 years ago.
But let me tell you, once I discovered poutine, it immediately became one of my favourite foods. Fries, cheese, and gravy? C’mon, what’s not to like? Of course, poutines are notoriously unhealthy – NYF’s small 245 gram poutine packs 710 calories, and the regular 320 gram poutine is 950 calories. A lot of people get a soft drink on top of that. That’s over half your daily recommended caloric intake. By the way, NYF already cooks their fries in trans fat free non-hydrogenated sunflower oil, and at least they give you the nutritional information. I’ve been to other places with larger poutines and no such extra information.
When I was younger, I shared a NYF poutine with my friends every week. And got poutine once in a while from a restaurant near my school That was back when my metabolism worked fast enough for it not to affect me. Now, I have it very, very seldom because I know I need to watch my diet. But that only serves to give me poutine cravings.
So it’s definitely nice to get creative and try to make my own poutine from scratch – I assure you it has got to be much healthier than any poutine you buy. Dark and I just made do with what we had at home, and here’s what we made:
I know the fries look different: I like my fries really thin, and Dark likes his fries… as you see above. So after peeling 2 potatoes (that’s all I had around the house), we each cut and marinated our own potato into different sized fries. As you have already figured, my fries are on the left and Dark’s are on the right.
I marinated mine with extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt. Dark marinated his with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We spread the fries out on an aluminum foil-lined tray and put it in the oven at 400F. I can’t remember how long they were in the oven for, but as you can see, the tips of the fries were just browning and they were perfect. Dark thinks it was definitely less than 30 min, maybe around 20 min. Adjust baking time according to your own preferences.
I had a big slab of light Crackle Barrel medium cheddar cheese, so we just cut that up into cubes to put on the oven-hot fries. For the gravy, we heated chicken broth in a pan and added soy sauce for colour, and salt to taste. Corn starch was dissolved in cold water in a separate bowl before pouring the mixture into the broth – remember to stir it so that it doesn’t clump in pieces instead of thickening. I’m sorry I don’t have more specific instructions, we usually do a lot of our cooking by “feel”, adjusting as we go along.
If you decide to try this out for yourself, I hope you enjoy it!
(Image source: http://www.newyorkfries.com)