Ah, Canadian Poutine. The Canadians’ most delightful invention for the perfect, stumbling-home-from-the-bar-need-a-greasy-snack treat. Poutine features crunchy french fries soaked in brown gravy and then topped with cheese curds. Can you imagine anything more perfect?
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What first began as a menu item on one restaurant’s offerings near Drummondville, Quebec in the 1950s has quickly become a staple across Canadian cuisine.
I don’t know about you, but as someone that lives in the United States (and VERY close to Canada), I know a little bit about Poutine. At least Michigan– and I suspect most states in the USA– is no stranger to Canadian Poutine being on the bar appetizer menu.
Where Was Poutine Invented? What Does Poutine Mean?
There is much debate over the true origins of Poutine. Was Poutine invented in 1957 at L’Idéal in Warwick, Quebec? One customer in a rush asked the restaurant to throw each of his separate menu items– cheese curds and fries– together in the same to-go bag.
When he opened the bag and peered inside, the customer allegedly exclaimed that his to go order was “poutine!” meaning “a mess”.
Perhaps, instead, poutine can be credited to Jean-Paul Roy, the owner of the restaurant Le Roy Jucep.
Roy noticed that his customers would often combine the french fries, gravy and cheese curds that he sold separately into one large meal. Eventually, he put the combination on his menu…. And later patented the idea.
Why Make this Recipe?
- The Perfect Comfort Food: French fries, cheese, and gravy. Have you ever heard of a more perfect comfort-food combo? I love making this recipe when I need a good hearty bite of all of my favorite things.
- A Fun Appetizer: If you’re having guests over and want to make a really fun appetizer for them, this is a great one to try out. It’s not often that people get to eat homemade poutine… And trust me, it’ll be better than any restaurant you visit
- “Travel” to Canada: If you’ve dreamed of visiting the Great White North but haven’t gotten the chance to do so yet, making this recipe will give you a chance to taste the best parts of Canada without ever having to leave your kitchen!
Ingredients for Canadian Poutine
- Cheese Curds: Your curds should squeak when you bite into them! If they don’t they’re not high quality enough curds. My cheese curds were garlic and herb flavored
- Beef Chuck: You can buy a steak and cut it if you’d like. You can also use pre-cut stew beef if you can’t find chuck.
- Broth: I used low-sodium Beef Broth
- Potatoes: You can use Idaho or Russet potatoes. You will be following this recipe to make the potatoes into fries.
- Staples: Butter, olive oil, onion, flour, salt, pepper
For full measurements and instructions, read the recipe card below.
Cheese Curd Substitutions
I live about 45 minutes away from Canada, and I still had quite a hard time finding cheese curds! I was finally able to find them at a specialty grocery store with rows and rows of ceese.
If you can’t find cheese curds, have no fear! The closest possible thing to use would be mozzarella balls or chunks! Make sure they are full pieces of mozzarella and not just shredded.
The texture of these is very similar to cheese curds and will provide (almost) the desired result!
How to Make this Recipe
Step 1: Make the Gravy
Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Stir beef chuck 5-7 minutes until beef begins to brown.
Add butter. Reduce heat to medium and stir until it melts. Add diced onion, salt, and black pepper. Continue stirring until the onion turns translucent.
Add flour and whisk to combine. Let sit for 3 minutes.
Add the beef broth and turn the heat to high so that the gravy reaches a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered depending on the desired consistency.
If the gravy still isn’t thick enough, mix 2 tbsp flour with 3 tbsp of water and add. Then stir for another 5 minutes or so. Keep adding until the desired consistency is reached.
Step 2: Make the Fries
Peel potatoes and cut into fry shapes (about ½ inch thick and 4 inches long).
Fill a bowl with water and add the raw potatoes. Let sit for a few minutes until the water becomes cloudy, empty the bowl, refill with fresh water, and put the raw potato fries back in. Continue until the water remains clear.
In a large pot, heat oil to 325 degrees. Add the potatoes (about ¼ at a time) and fry for about 4-5 minutes.
Remove from the oil and let drain on a paper towel. Ensure that oil comes back to 325 degrees before adding your next round of fries.
Allow the potatoes to cool completely– for at least a half an hour. When the potatoes are completely cooled, reheat the oil to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle salt on the potatoes. Put them in the oil again, this time frying to your liking (about 3-6 minutes).
Remove, drain, and salt again.
Here is a video on how to make Belgian Fries (the same recipe we use here) if you need some additional help.
Step 3: Assemble
On a plate, layer the fries, a spoonful of poutine gravy and your cheese curds. Enjoy!
Leave a comment on this page letting me know what you think!
- Eat your poutine with a fork! This is the least messy way to eat it.
- You can keep the skin on your potatoes if you so wish. If you do that, make sure to wash the skin well
- You can use mozzarella balls in place of cheese curds if necessary
- If you’re really feeling fancy, try making this recipe with sweet potato fries! You can even try this recipe on Sweet Potato Fritters!
If you want to add more flavor to your Canadian Poutine, you can also add any toppings you desire. Some good choices would be:
- Any other types of meat
- An Over Easy Egg
Are Canadian Poutine and Disco Fries the Same?
At first glance, it seems to be so. In fact, Disco Fries are New Jersey’s answer to the infamous Canadian poutine. However, there is one glaring difference between the two:
While Canadian Poutine features fries, gravy, and cheese curds, disco fries features fries, gravy, and cheese sauce. (Here is a recipe for Jersey Diner-Style Disco Fries from Parsnips and Pastries).
You know what? That doesn’t sound the same to me at all 😉
Seriously, though, Canadians take their cheese curds seriously, and for good reason! A poutine without cheese curds is not a poutine at all.
When did Poutine Become Popular in Canada?
Poutine became popular in Canada shortly after its invention, but for quite some time, the dish wasn’t called “poutine”. The mixture of fries with cheese curds was instead called “mixte”. Once larger restaurant chains started selling the dish, its name transformed.
Now, poutine has become so popular in Canada that it is the country’s national dish. McDonalds and Burger King even sell their own versions of the infamous Canadian treat.
Different regions of Canada feature their own versions of Canadian poutine. For example, Newfoundland will also serve a dish called “poutine”, but instead of cheese curds, the dish will feature “dressing” or “stuffing”.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you do, don’t forget to leave a comment on my post letting me know. And if you did like it, make sure to check out these other recipes that you might also like:
- Goat Cheese Puff Pastry with Papaya Jam
- Boolawnee (Fried Leek Appetizer)
- Fries with Andalouse Sauce
- Creamy, Vegetable Stuffed Mashed Potatoes (Stoemp from Belgium)
Canadian Poutine Recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. beef chuck chopped into tiny bits
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 quart Beef broth
- 1 Small Onion chopped
- 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- Fresh ground Black pepper to taste
- 5 Idaho Potatoes
- 1 Container Sunflower Oil for deep frying
- Sea Salt
- Cheese curds
- Heat a tbsp of olive oil in pan. Stir beef chuck 5-7 minutes until beef begins to brown.
- Add butter. Reduce heat to medium and stir until it melts.
- Add diced onion, salt, and black pepper. Continue stirring until the onion turns translucent.
- Add flour and whisk to combine. Let sit for 3 minutes.
- Add the beef broth and turn the heat to high so that the gravy reaches a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered depending on the desired consistency.
- If the gravy still isn't thick enough, mix 2 tbsp flour with 3 tbsp of water and add. Then stir for another 5 minutes or so. Keep adding until the desired consistency is reached.
- Peel potatoes and cut into fry shapes (about ½ inch thick and 4 inches long).
- Fill a bowl with water and add the raw potatoes. Let sit for a few minutes until the water becomes cloudy, empty the bowl, refill with fresh water, and put the raw potato fries back in. Continue until the water remains clear.
- In a large pot, heat oil to 325 degrees. Add the potatoes (about ¼ at a time) and fry for about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the oil and let drain on paper towel. Ensure that oil comes back to 325 degrees before adding your next round of fries.
- Allow the potatoes to cool completely– for at least a half an hour. When the potatoes are completely cooled, reheat the oil to 375 degrees.
- Sprinkle salt on the potatoes. Put them in the oil again, this time frying to your liking (about 3-6 minutes).
- Remove, drain, and salt again.
- On a plate, layer the fries, a spoonful of poutine gravy and your cheese curds. Enjoy!
- Leave a comment on this page letting me know what you think!