If you ask any French Canadian living abroad; what they miss the most from home, it’s certain that you’ll see “the poutine” in the top 3. This is an emotional meal for any French Canadian and it’s actually pretty much impossible to reproduce the traditional one outside of Quebec because of the lack of that fresh of the day “squeech squeech” cheese. We say “squeech squeech” because it does that sound when we bite in it, although if it’s more than 24 hours old, the sound goes away. The cheese is in fact a fresh cheddar curd cheese and it’s main quality is, that’s the “secret of poutine”, that it doesn’t melt. So you can pour that hot gravy sauce on top of it and it won’t melt.
Poutine is the meal you get after a night out with friends, or in a food stand in summer time, it’s always nice to get a nice poutine on a picnic table. Although, there is a new vibe that brought the poutine to another level: like the foie gras poutine, or some add sausages, peas, etc. My version here is european with it’s gruyere cheese on top, also a gravy with wine in it and a touch of thyme on the oven baked fries. I have to say it’s quite an upgrade for such a humble meal, even a “quebecois” could be wanting to try my european version. So here is for all those expats out there, the curious quebecois or those who are simply curious about that meal; the european poutine.
- 3 big potatoes
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 750ml of chicken broth
- 200ml red wine *optional
- gruyere or old cheddar
- 1 tbs butter
- thyme, salt and pepper
Bring oven to 180°C (350F)
- Add the broth, the wine and a little black pepper to boil, need to reduce a lot (about 45 minutes) until it sticks to the back of a spoon
- Wash the potatoes, I keep the skin (crispier)
- Cut into sticks
- in a bowl, add the 1 tbs of olive oil (not more, otherwise it will be saggy), thyme, salt, pepper and mix
- Add the fries on a baking sheet, spread on a tray without overlapping
- Cook the fries for 40 minutes or until light brown
- When the gravy is reduced, add the 1 tbs of butter to it
- Add the fries, sauce and top it with gruyere cheese (I use a normal peeler to cut the cheese)
It goes perfectly with a fresh beer and some sun. Enjoy!