Learn How To Make this classic Canadian Poutine recipe! This is perfect for your next get together. Freshly made french fries loaded with cheese curds and smothered in homemade gravy!
How To Make Poutine
In all this time I’ve been blogging, I can’t believe I’ve never shared with you a poutine recipe because this is probably the most quintessential Canadian dish there is. But here I am, after all these years, about to fix this because you should all experience poutine in your lifetime.
Poutine really should be Canada’s dish, because whenever someone asks me what are considered Canadian dishes, it’s pretty much the only dish that comes to mind. I’m going to go as far as saying that poutine is one of Canada’s greatest inventions.
What Is Poutine?
Poutine originated in Warrick, Quebec in the 1950s. It’s a very simple recipe of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. The heat from the gravy melts the cheese to create a ridiculously delicious melty dish. When I visited Quebec a couple years ago, every restaurant we visited had their own awesome version!
Some of these include bacon, cheesy lobster, pulled pork, Jerk chicken, even butter chicken! My poutine recipe is basic, true to its roots, and authentic with doubled fried french fries, loaded with cheese curds and smothered in a delicious homemade gravy. Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Poutine
While the poutine itself is extremely simple, what we’re really focussing on today is how to make the best french fries, and how to make a delicious gravy without pan drippings. Keep scrolling for the full recipe and ingredient amounts.
For the gravy you will need:
- Butter – I always use unsalted butter so that I have full control over the amount of salt in my recipes.
- Fresh herbs – This is what’s going to give your gravy amazing flavor! I love using fresh herbs in gravy. You can use dried herbs as well.
- Flour – This is used to thicken your gravy. You can use extra cornstarch slurry (read below) if you want to make this gluten free.
- Beef & chicken broth – I like to use both to get a nice and deep flavor. You can use one or the other, or you can use vegetable broth.
- Cornstarch & water – This helps give our gravy more thickness. We want it to coat the fries and sit on top, not be too runny and flow to the bottom of the bowl.
- Salt & pepper – season to your own personal preference.
For the poutine you will need:
- Russet potatoes – This variety is starchy and has a relatively low moisture content, making it perfect for french fries.
- Canola oil – You can also use peanut oil or safflower oil. These types are ideal for making fries.
- Cheese curds – While you can use any type of cheese you want, cheese curds are very traditional for making poutine. They are big and stretchy!
How to Make the Perfect Crispy French Fries:
- The first secret to a good french fry is to make sure you use the right potatoes. High starch potatoes like Idaho potatoes (also called Russet potatoes) are the best because they’re dense and have the least amount of moisture.
- As soon as you cut the potatoes into strips, transfer them to a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. This will prevent the potatoes from going brown.
- Use the right oil for frying french fries. Refined peanut oil has been found to be the best to use for fries but canola or safflower oil are great too.
- Fry the potatoes twice, once at a lower temperature which actually cooks the inside of the fries to the perfect temperature, and once at a higher temperature, which will turn the outside of the fries golden brown and crispy.
How to Make the BEST Poutine:
Trust me here, I’m Canadian. I can’t tell you how many poutines I’ve gone through over the years to lead me to this moment!
- Make the gravy: Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the herbs and cook for about 3o seconds. Whisk in the flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broths, and whisk until everything comes to a boil. Add your cornstarch slurry and stir until your gravy thickens, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Prep the potatoes: Wash the potatoes and peel the skin if you want. I personally left the skin on for my fries. Cut the potatoes into 1/3 inch slices and then into 1/3 inch sticks. Soak the fries in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes.
- Cook the fries: Heat a large pot with oil to 325F. I suggest using a frying thermometer to make sure you have the right temperature. Pat the fries as dry as you can get them and cook in batches for 5-7 minutes until they’re light brown. Transfer them to a rack or paper towel lined bowl. Increase the oil’s temperature to 350F and, in batches, cook the fries for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the poutine: If the gravy has cooled down, heat it in the saucepan until it’s nice and hot. Add the fries to a bowl, top with room temperature cheese curds, then pour gravy over all the curds. Let everything sit for at least a minute so that the cheese has a chance to melt.
Tips for Making the Best Poutine
- A good gravy is the key to a good poutine. If you don’t have any pan drippings follow my recipe here for making your own gravy from scratch. Make sure the gravy is nice and hot to soften and melt the curds. You also want your gravy to be nice and thick so that it sits on top of the curds and melts them.
- Make sure the cheese curds are at room temperature. They need to be soft and slightly melted, so having them at room temperature is the key for them to start melting as soon as you pour gravy on them.
- Assemble your poutine quickly. Top the fries with a healthy portion of the cheese curds, then make sure your gravy is nice and hot when you pour it over the cheese.
- You can also top your poutine with other toppings, such as sautéed mushrooms (as seen in the picture above), pulled pork, bacon, etc.
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How To Make Poutine
- 3 lbs russet potatoes about 6 medium potatoes, unpeeled
- 2 quarts canola oil or peanut oil or safflower oil
- 2 cups cheese curds at room temperature
Prepare The Gravy
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the herbs and cook for 30 seconds until they become aromatic. Add the flour and cook, stirring or whisking regularly, for about 2 minutes.
- Add the beef broth and chicken broth; bring to a boil, while whisking. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the water, then stir the cornstarch mixture in the gravy. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking regularly, or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare The French Fries
- Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly. I prefer them unpeeled, but feel free to peel them if preferred. Cut the potatoes into 1/3-inch slices and then slice into 1/3-inch sticks.
- Fill a large bowl with water and ice and soak the potatoes, fully submerged, for about 30 minutes. This will prevent the potatoes from oxidizing and help remove the excess starch.
- Heat a large Dutch oven or a deep fryer with oil to 325 degrees F. Use a deep-fry thermometer to get it to the right temperature.
- While the oil is heating, remove the potatoes from the water and pat them dry with paper towels to remove any excess water.
- Add about 2 cups worth of potato sticks to the oil, do not over crowd them. There should be at least a finger of oil above the potatoes. Cook the potatoes for about 5 to 7 minutes or until they start to lightly brown. Transfer them to a rack, shaking off any excess oil. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
- Increase the heat of the oil to 350 F degrees.
- Cook the potatoes a second time, same as before, about 2 cups at a time, for an additional 2 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove them from the oil, shaking off any excess oil, then place them in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Assemble the Poutine
- If the gravy is no longer hot, make sure to reheat it before pouring over the fries.
- You can prepare this in individual dishes or in one large platter. Add the fries to your plate, then top with the room temperature cheese curds. Ladle the hot gravy all over the fries and cheese curds, making sure you coat everything.
- Garnish with more herbs and ground pepper and serve immediately.
- * You can find poultry herb blends in your local grocery store located with all the other herbs. Usually they contain rosemary, sage and thyme, so if you cannot the blend you could always buy them separately.
- What are cheese curds: Cheese curds are moist pieces of curdled milk, sometimes referred to as squeaky cheese. Cheese curds are made from pasteurized milk in the process of creating cheese when bacterial culture are added to clot the milk. After the milk clots it is then cut into cubes, the result is a mixture of whey and curd. You can find cheese curds pretty in all grocery stores, but I usually buy mine at Costco.