Poutine has long been one of my favourite "fast food" indulgences. Having grown up in Northern Ontario - specifically, Timmins - the poutineries were aplenty. There was Riverside Chip Stand, The Burger Bus, Chez Nous, and then, just about any divey (but delicious) food joint had their own poutine offered on the menu. It's not the kind of food that looks great, but boy does it do wonders to warm you, fill you up, and leave you feeling utterly satisfied.
So, since I'd had poutine on the brain, I love to cook, and the Olympics were opening and people were coming over I thought, "what more Canadian than to make poutine from scratch?!" And so I did.
There are a couple things you must get right. I already talked about the curds. OK, find some good ones. The white ones - not the orange ones. Check. Next, get yourself some russet potatoes. Russets have the right amount of water/starch ratio to make them THE best potato for fries. And if you're not sure which ones are russets, they're the ones that have a brown, thicker skin that is dull (not waxy looking), and they usually look a bit dirtier than the others. Also known for being baking potatoes.
Next is the gravy part. Bad gravy can ruin your poutine. I did struggle with whether to do beef gravy or chicken gravy or (gasp!) powdered gravy. In the end, I went for a beef/chicken gravy, and opted to fancy it up a bit with red wine, shallot and thyme. I also chose to go for homemade stock, not store-bought. Always better flavour. But, if you don't have time to make the stock, you can usually find a good one at your local butcher store.
Want to try it at home? You can find the recipe here. Feel free to make your own variations on the gravy part; I'd actually love to hear how it turned out and if you loved it, get the recipe.
So there you have it. Find your inner Canadian (or, Canadienne), work up an appetite, and dig in to a forkful of hot, gooey, tasty goodness that is poutine!