Classic Poutine

published Feb 25, 2022
Poutine Recipe

A Canadian classic made of fried potatoes covered in cheddar cheese curds and rich brown gravy

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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poutine on plate with napkin and beer
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk

Poutine — fries covered in a rich brown gravy and topped with cheese curds — is a French-Canadian dish that originated in Quebec. The dish was created as a delicious way to use up excess cheese curds, which have a short window of freshness. This version of the dish starts with homemade french fries. The hot, crispy fries are topped with cheese curds, homemade gravy made from a mix of chicken and beef stock, and a little bit of chopped parsley for color.

Where Did Poutine Originate?

The origin story of poutine, like the origin story of many dishes, is cloudy. Most stories point to Fernand Lachance of Quebec’s Café Ideal, who claims to have added curds to fries at customer Eddy Lainesse’s request sometime in the 1950s. Years later, in 1964, Jean-Paul Roy, owner of Le Roy Jucep, noticed that his customers were ordering cheese curds to eat with his fries and gravy so he added poutine to his menu. Today, Le Roy Jucep has more than 20 variations of poutine on their menu.

By the 1980s, poutine’s popularity spread beyond Quebec and became a popular street food in Montreal. In the 1990s and early 2000s, poutine hit it big in the States, when American gastropubs started serving their versions of the classic Canadian comfort food.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling; Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Poutine at Home, a Few Tips

  • Soak the potatoes. Soaking the potatoes in water before you fry them helps draw out the starch, which creates a crispier fry.
  • Double-fry your fries. Twice-frying the potatoes at different temperatures creates fries that are crispy on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside.
  • Frozen fries work, too. It’s hard to beat a homemade french fry, but if you don’t have time to make your own, frozen fries are a good substitute.
  • Make it vegetarian. For vegetarian poutine, just use veggie stock as the base for the gravy instead of chicken and beef stock.

Poutine Recipe

A Canadian classic made of fried potatoes covered in cheddar cheese curds and rich brown gravy

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds

    medium russet potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon

    water, plus more for soaking the potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/4 cups

    low-sodium beef broth

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed 6 cups vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 1/2 cups

    white cheese curds (8 ounces)

  • 1/4

    bunch fresh parsley

  • 6 cups

    vegetable or canola oil

Instructions

  1. Fill a large bowl halfway with cold or room temperature water. Slice 3 pounds russet potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-inch thick planks (no need to peel). Cut each plank lengthwise into 1/3-inch wide fries. Transfer the cut potatoes to the bowl of water. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and stir until combined. Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture turns golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

  3. While whisking continuously, add 1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth, 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.

  4. While whisking continuously, add the cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture to a hard simmer, whisking occasionally. Continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened into a pourable gravy, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to fry the potatoes.

  5. Heat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven until 325ºF. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a wire rack. Using your hands, crumble 1 1/2 cups white cheese curds into 1/2-inch pieces if needed and let sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Pick the leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh parsley and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Drain and dry the potatoes with paper towels.

  6. Fry the potatoes in 3 batches: Add the potatoes and fry, stirring occasionally, until they begin to lose their rawness and turn starchy on the outside, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the par-cooked fries to the rack.

  7. Heat the oil to 375ºF. Meanwhile, line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Reheat the gravy over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until warm and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

  8. Fry the fries again in 3 batches: Add the fries to the hot oil and fry, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the paper towels and immediately season each batch with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt.

  9. To assemble, transfer the fries to 4 individual plates. Sprinkle with the cheese curds. Spoon the gravy over the fries (about 1/2 cup over each serving), and sprinkle with the parsley. (Alternatively, assemble the poutine on 1 large platter.)

Recipe Notes

Storage: The gravy can be made up to a few days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat before using.