Poutine is a classical French – Canadian food made of French fries, fresh soft cheese and brown sauce. It is considered as a fast food which originated in Quebec and is now popular all over Canada. It is commonly sold by small and big restaurant, fast food chains, small cafés, diners, greasy spoons and roadside shops.
Popular international chains like KFC, McDonalds & Burger king also sell commercially produced poutine all over Canada. It shared remarkable similarities to New York fries or disco fries.
This fast food originated in Quebec, Canada during the 1950’s. Many communities like Victoriaville, Drummodville claim to be the birthplace of this dish. One often told story is that of Fernand Lachance which states that Warwick, Quebec is the place where poutine was first invented in the year 1957.
Poutine actually means mushy mess. It is an Acadian slang commonly used and it has relation with the naming of this dish as well.
Ingredients and Preparation
French fries, fresh cheese curd and brown sauce are the main ingredients for making poutine.
French fries should not be very thin as thin fries are crispy but not soft from inside. It should be medium thickness so that it is crispy outside and soft inside.
Fresh cheese curds used as a topping for poutine should be creamy, slightly acidic yet sweet. It should have the characteristic flavor similar to cream cheese. It is very important to use freshly made cheese curd. Curd, more than a day old, should not be used.
Brown sauce or brown gravy is used to make this dish. Brown sauce is traditionally made using beef stock but chicken stock is also commonly used. Other ingredients like butter, all purpose flour, Worcestershire sauce, mustard paste, garlic are also used to make this gravy. Pork or heavy beef is seldom used.
It is very important to top cheese curds and brown gravy just prior to serving this dish as this pre-assembled dish has a different texture than the desired texture. First, the cheese curd is topped on the French fries and then hot gravy is poured. It is essential to take care of the order of the dish as it can impact the flavor and texture.
Numerous variations have evolved over the years. Some of them include addition of bacon, chicken or smoked meat pieces. Finely chopped vegetables like onions, onion greens, and tomatoes are also added.
Gourmet sauces like three pepper sauce, cheese sauce, and garlic pepper sauce are added instead of brown gravy.
Some variations have replaced fresh cheese curds for shredded cabbage. Some places outside Canada use other cheeses like mozzarella instead.
· Italian poutine is made using Bolognese sauce and Italian sausages are used as toppings.
· Greek version consists of shoestring fries (thin fries), topped with feta cheese along with vinaigrette and brown gravy.
· Persillade poutine consists of parsley, garlic, herbs, oil and vinegar along with the other regular ingredients.
· Poutine a l’etranger is made using a thick gravy and grated cheese.
· Kapsalon is a dish which originated in Netherlands. It is made of French fries, gouda cheese, shawarma meat or kebabs, salad and sambal.
· In Sweden, a dish called fisktin is made using French fries, cheese, herring and salmon chunks along with fish sauce.
Health and Nutritional Facts
Burger king poutine
Serving size – 1 regular size (180 g)
Calories – 750 cal, Calories from fat – 378 cal, Fat – 42 g, Saturated fat – 19 g, Sodium – 2270 mg, Dietary fiber – 6 g, Protein – 19 g
· Commercially available poutine portions are extremely high in calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium.They should be avoided by people who are obese, on a diet, suffering from any kind of cardio vascular diseases hypertension.
· This dish consists of nearly 113 % of daily recommended daily allowance of sodium. It can increase the chances of developing blood pressure problems and instantly raise the blood pressure.
· Nearly 50% of the calories is contributed by fat and it also contains high saturated fat which can increase the chances of developing blockages in heart.
· A healthier way to make poutine at home is by baking the fries instead of deep frying them. This will reduce the fat by nearly 75%. Salt should also be reduced as brown gravy, cheese curds and fries all contain salt. Processed brown gravy should be avoided as it contains preservatives like sodium benzoate which add to the sodium intake. Fresh gravy should be made.
- An annual poutine festival is held in Maillardville each year. Popular Canadian foods specially ‘genuine’ poutine is served during this festival.
- Wendy's, a fast food restaurant chain is trying to crown poutine as the national dish of Canada.