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Poutine is a simple dish from Québec, Canada. It is traditionally made with French fries, topped with fresh mild white cheddar curds (quite unlike American white cheddar which is quite sharp) and with a tangy and salty brown gravy poured on top of it all. It looks something like this:

poutine

It's easy to make when you like up in Québec, as the gravy can be purchased in any grocery store. But I live in the USA now, and there is no such thing as poutine gravy here. For the cheese I use Monterey Jack cheese, which is close enough. I've tried to whip up my own gravy multiple times, but it's never been quite right. Here is how I usually go about it:

  1. Start with chicken stock.

  2. Thicken with flour or starch.

  3. Add some pepper, salt (if needed, usually it's pretty salty already).

  4. Add something for tang, like a bit of barbecue sauce or ketchup.

  5. Maybe throw in a few spices, like garlic or onion powder.

I was just wondering if anyone has ideas to make this more palatable, e.g., other ingredients, or any cooking suggestion.

  • And all this time I thought you can just use any gravy. You can always order gravy from Canada online – Huangism Dec 11 '14 at 18:23
  • Being a Wisconsinite and having visited Canada, I'm moderately surprised that the domain of curds hasn't found its way to Indiana and am also surprised that you would find monetary jack as "close enough" to the squeak that only curd eaters know. Have you considered ordering them online (another, and another, and another)? – user25991 Dec 12 '14 at 4:22
  • I had not, that's a good idea! The squeak is not "quite there" with refrigerated Monterey Jack, I must admit! Refrigerators tend to ruin cheese lol. – Phrancis Dec 12 '14 at 4:31
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Hello @Phrancis and welcome to Seasoned Advice! Poutine gravy is a beef gravy made with beef or veal stock. Here is a link to a recipe . There are many other recipes online, as well.

You can buy the prepared sauce online here or a gravy mix on Amazon .

By the way, you were on the right track, just not quite there yet! :)

  • Ah, I did not think of using beef or veal broth. Great idea, can't wait to try it next time I fix that! I also was suggested to try this one I may give it a whirl :) – Phrancis Dec 11 '14 at 19:00
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Ricardo has a very good, authentic tasting and even smelling recipe for poutine gravy:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cans 10 oz (284 ml) beef broth, undiluted
  • 1 can 10 ounces (284 ml) chicken broth, undiluted
  • Pepper

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with pepper.

As an aside, I can't imagine Monterey Jack being good enough. Scour your specialty stores and find those curds! Sprouts carries them in Southern California for example.

  • 2
    Because this preparation is made with a cornstarch "slurry", be careful not to overcook it. It's possible to overdo the heat and pop the starch granules, leaving you back where you started, if you don't follow the instructions and simmer. I total agree on the necessity of proper cheese curds, sourced from my neighbor state of Wisconsin if you can find them. There's not a better curd to be had in the lower 48. – logophobe Dec 11 '14 at 22:27
  • Roger, thanks for the recipe and advice! – Phrancis Dec 11 '14 at 23:15
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I had poutine once in Canada when I was driving through. I had dinner in a diner and poutine was the advertised special. The waitress looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked what poutine was. So I only have that one experience to draw from, but the gravy tasted to me exactly like this stuff:

1

You can buy exactly that in any grocery store in envelopes, or at Sam's Club in canisters like that. Costco probably has a version too, if not exactly that brand.

Incidentally, a lot of grocery stores carry cheese curds with the "gourmet" cheese.

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    Diners often don't make the best poutine, I've found. But some restaurants in big cities like Montréal serve nothing but poutine, with anything from vegetables to bacon to smoked meat. Thanks for the suggestion! – Phrancis Dec 11 '14 at 19:09
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    One possible reason for a strange look is if you mispronounced it as putain. – Nate Eldredge Dec 12 '14 at 5:21

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