Poutine! The quintessential French-Canadian comfort food. Fries covered in fresh cheese curds and gravy. Does it get any better than that? While at the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago, I picked up some farm fresh cheese curds. In my area fresh curds are hard to find. Heck, even un-fresh curds are hard to find! This was a real treat and I wasn't about to let it go to waste.
In the basic recipe for poutine, French fries are topped with fresh cheese curds, and covered with brown gravy or sauce. The French fries are of medium thickness, and fried so that the inside stays soft, while the outside is crunchy. The gravy used is generally a light chicken, veal or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper, or a sauce brune which is a combination of beef and chicken stock, originating in Quebec. Heavy beef or pork-based brown gravies are rarely used. Fresh cheese curds (not more than a day old) are used. To maintain the texture of the fries, the cheese curd and gravy is added immediately prior to serving the dish.
In the past when I made poutine I would use a packet of powdered Poutine Gravy Mix. This time I decided to try my own. It turned out well and was quite easy. I used pre-cut frozen fries because they bake up crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - perfect for a traditional Poutine. Serve for lunch or dinner; as a side or a main.
For the gravy I mixed half a cup of chicken broth, half cup of beef broth and a splash of red wine in a saucepan. I simmered it on medium-high heat until it was reduced by a third. I added a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a splash of water and whisked until the sauce thickened. Finally, I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I baked the fries until crisp and placed them on a plate. I sprinkled a generous amount of cheese curds on top of the fries then drizzled with an equally generous amount of piping hot gravy. Delicious!
P.S... It's pronounced "Poo-Tin" but since French is my second language, I'm okay with "Poo-Tine". ;-)