Finding Southern Flavors In Canada : Poutine Comes Home!

About two years ago, I had an opportunity to visit Canada. I had a wonderful time, met some great people, had delicious food, and learned two things about Canadians.

One is that they are very nice people! Seriously, they were the biggest group of nice folks I had ever encountered outside of my own stomping grounds. I can’t imagine feeling as welcome anywhere else as I was in Canada (I really think they liked me better than my own family but that is a story for another day…)

Secondly was that Canadians have an almost inhuman ability to maintain body heat. With my Alabama blood in the Canadian climate (in January), “I THOUGHT I’Z GONNA FREEZE!” I have never, never, never, never, never, never, never experienced cold like that before in all of my born days.
I was told to bring my winter coat so I packed my wool pea coat. I love that coat but living in Alabama means only getting to wear it once or twice a winter if I’m lucky. You see, where I am, the winters are so mild that the grass doesn’t even die. We generally wear jackets if we go out but there have been occasions warm enough for shorts even in the middle of December. Needless to say, I was surprised when I got there and, upon looking at what I considered to be a winter coat, my friends asked me where my coat was.The photograph at the right shows me standing amidst more snow than I have ever seen in my entire life, wearing a coat – borrowed from a Canadian (I told you they were awful nice!).
I had a week filled with firsts. From stepping into snow and watching my shoe actually sink entirely down into it to visiting a grocery store and seeing things written entirely in French. Canada was a great experience and as I said before, the people were just wonderful. Another first from my trip was trying this dish – poutine (Pronounced pooh-teen).
From day one I was told, “Oh you HAVE to have Poutine!”. When it was described to me, hot fries topped with fresh cheese curd and a rich gravy, I was a bit put off. It just didn’t sound good to me. Still, they were persistent. Finally, three days before I left, I relented.
It was pure and true love at first bite. I had poutine at just about every meal until my flight back home. I ate so much poutine, I was being watched with concerned eyes as if hoping I would somehow get back on the wagon again. They had unleashed a poutine monster.
Once you taste this, you’ll see why. Now remember, I thought it sounded weird to begin with, too. In truth though, Poutine tastes about as southern as food can get and despite what you think, you really can’t imagine what it tastes like until you try it. Three simple ingredients meld to become something altogether more than what they seem.
This dish is so popular in Canada that McDonald’s and Burger King actually serve it, although I can’t imagine it is as good as it is at the little mom and pop diners. Canadians get creative with it, too. I’ve heard folks adding bacon, hamburger, and all sorts of other toppings into the mix. As for me, I like it just as I tried it that first time – and the second time, third, fourth, fifth, sixth…
You’ll need three simple ingredients. French Fries, Beef Gravy, and Mozzarella Cheese.
We’re making this a bit differently from how they do in Canada as we don’t have fresh cheese curds. I can’t really tell the difference but I’m sure fresh cheese curds just make it all the better!
Bake or fry your french fries. I love these Big Daddy steak fries. They are absolutely wonderful, and very difficult to find. Most people prefer to fry them in oil but I just bake mine. Surprisingly, I really don’t like to deep fry anything!
While those are cooking, slice your mozzarella cheese…You want a good handful, about a half cup for each serving.
Cut your slices into small cubes.
Heat your gravy until piping hot. You can use the stovetop for this or the microwave. I nuke mine.
Place hot fries on a plate and salt them.
Sprinkle liberally with cheese cubes.
Ladle hot gravy over hot fries.
Get a good bit on there! Make sure you cover up your cheese so it will get all ooey and gooey.
Give it a minute or two to melt and dig in.
Oh lord, I made this a few weeks ago and am just now putting the tutorial up.
Now I have to go make it again!
OH CANADA!!!!

Poutine

Poutine

Ingredients

  • French fries, cooked and kept hot
  • Mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Beef gravy in a can

Instructions

  1. Heat gravy until piping hot. Sprinkle cheese cubes liberally over hot fries. Pour gravy over all.
  2. Pretend you know french. C'est Magnifique? MAIS Oui! C'est tres magnifique!(hey, I said pretend!)
http://www.southernplate.com/2008/08/finding-southern-flavors-in-canada.html
 

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    As the Canadian that introduced the evils of poutine to Christy i have to say that she ate more than i thought humanely possible..i got worried she might explode in a huge column of fries and cheese curds.. The best part was seeing her reaction to snow :) Had me smiling for months afterwards.

  2. Southern Plate says

    WOW when did I get so behind on this comment post!! I’m sorry!

    Coco Welcome!! Thank you for coming and please come back often!! Glad to have you at Southern Plate!

    Su Still haven’t got to try your lamington recipe but it is on my all time ultimate, must do list!
    Stacie Glenn Welcome, welcome!!!!! So glad to meet ya!!!!Do come back, please!!
    Ziggyeor Hello! I’m so glad you liked the butterfinger cake, sounds like you liked it as much as I do!!! Welcome to Southern Plate!!!
    Tracey Hey!! Welcome and come back anytime!!

    Citycowboy I save all of my carbohydrate transgressions until right before bed, then crashing just helps me sleep better! I’m awful, just awful!!!

    Amanda Newfie fries sound like pure and total heaven. If you happen to read this, email me a little more detail so I can make some, please!!! Hehe!

  3. Kennie says

    Hey Christy,
    I stumbled across Southern Plate looking for ideas for my new restaurant and I love it. I make most of the things you write about. Everything is yummy! I am from Louisiana, southern Louisiana and we have a deli/ gas station that serves what we call gravy cheese fries. They use thick cut fries and the gravy from the roast beef used to make roast beef poboys. Then it is just topped with your choice of cheese. My favorite is american. They are very good. I just thought I’d share this with everyone.

    Kennie.

  4. Marcy says

    I’m Canadian (born and raised) and I now live with my husband & daughters in Madison Alabama, Poutine was one of my FAVORITE dishes growing up. My friends and I would leave our elementary school at lunch time (this was when kids were allowed to do such a thing) and walk almost a mile to a little mom & pop diner called MG’s. They had the absolute BEST poutine in the whole world! Unfortunalty, on our visits up there in recent years we’ve found out they’ve closed down :( Thanks for the recipe, sounds like it will bring back fond memories!

  5. RosieHawk says

    Love your blog! Also love that you LOVED the poutine when visiting BUT don’t TELL people to make it with MOZZARELLA hahaha! Oh my goodness a real poutine is made with CHEESE CURDS! Sooooo much better!!!! But if ya can’t get your hands on the curds then I guess mozza is the next best thing!
    Sooo did you have a Beaver Tail too while you were here??? Totally a must try!!!!!!!!!

    Rosie~ born in Montreal and raised in Ottawa~ I know my poutine!! ;)

      • Kim says

        Christy–

        I just recently found your website –already made three things, which were delicious–and have spent the last 2 hours on here reading all your recipes. I’m from Georgia, right near Atlanta, and I’m really enjoying the trip down memory lane for a lot of these! (The ones my mom cooked that I haven’t made yet.) But I just found the one for Poutine and had to write!

        My ex-fiance (with whom I’m still good friends) is from Quebec and I went back home with him a few times–you sound just like me when you first discovered it! I wanted it at every meal. I gained 5 lb. worth of poutine with every visit. The good thing is–he brought me some poutine mix and I’ve made them at home using mozzarella…I searched everywhere for cheese curds and we just do not have them down here. Found places on the internet but it was SO expensive, with shipping and all.

        But just yesterday–it’s so odd I saw this today–I saw cheese curds at my local Kroger! They were “colored” orange but still looked exactly the same as the ones we had in Quebec. If you have a Kroger near you–this is one of those super-duper ones with the really nice deli section–try and see if they have them.

        If you want poutine mix, next time he goes home I’ll have him bring some for you and I’ll mail it–

        Kim

  6. Robbie says

    I just looked at this recipe and I’m so excited to try this. We have a dairy just down the road and I’m going to pick some cheese curds up tomarrow and try this for dinner. I get my milk there weekly and it is so much better than what you get in the stores…

  7. Sharon says

    LOL my kids always get their fries changed to poutine at the restaraunts. When I make them at home I will actualy throw the finished product in the microwave to melt the cheese. Or you can use shredded mozzeralla, just don’t spread it thin. Think pizza with holes in the cheese lol.

    Try it with cheddar too, mmmmmmmm. They actually sell poutine gravy in the grocery stores here. Sometimes we have fries with just the cheddar cheese melted on them in the microwave. Sprinkle with salt and away you go!

  8. says

    I’m just an ol’ southern boy born in Thomasville, Ga. and living in Jacksonville, Fl. I’m married to a gal from Quebec, and I’ve eaten my share of poutine let me tell ya. It’s not really poutine unless its made with cheese curds no more than 24 hours old. Longer than that and it loses its squeakyness.
    Did you notice that the little mom and pop cafes in Quebec always peel and slice the potatoes when you order, and NEVER use frozen fries. That’s the secret to true French-Canadian poutine.
    I’ve found that the closest thing in taste to poutine gravy is to thicken a can of Cambells Beef Consommé with equal parts of flour and corn starch.
    I have the process for making cheese curds saved in my recipe book, but finding raw milk is difficult here in Jacksonville. One day though…
    BTW, I have a sister-in-law that lives in Madison, she’s French-Canadian, and she can discuss with you all of the wonderful aspects of Québécois cuisine.

  9. Ruth A Scully says

    My aunt made poutine for holidays…she called them poutine larapee (sp..phonetetcily) ? They were grayish balls wrapped in cheese cloth. Would anyone know what I am talking about? May have sounded like la rop pe

    RuthAnne Scully

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