Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poutine ~ Canada's Delish 'Hot Mess' Dish

Poutine (/puːˈtiːn/; French: [putin], Quebec French:[put͡sɪn]

[Press the button to hear pronunciation of the word Poutine by a Quebec CA native ] 
is a common Canadian dish, originating in Quebec, made with french fries, topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds. This fast food dish can now be found across Canada, and is also found in some places in the northern United States and the United Kingdom.

It is sold in small diners (commonly known as cantines or casse-croûtes in Quebec) and pubs, as well as by roadside fry wagons (commonly known as cabanes à patates, literally "potato shacks"). and hockey arenas. National and international chains like New York Fries, McDonald's, A&W, KFC, Burger King, and Harvey's also sell mass-market poutine in Canada (although not always country-wide). In the basic recipe for poutine, French fries are covered with fresh cheese curds, and topped with brown gravy.

In a Quebec poutine: French fries: Usually of medium thickness, and fried (sometimes doubly) so that the inside stays soft, while the outside is crispy. Cheese curds: Fresh cheese curds are used to give the desired texture. The curd size may vary but is usually slightly smaller than bite-sized. Brown gravy:

Traditionally a light and thin 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, a variant originating in Quebec. The gravy should be thin enough to easily filter down into the mass of fries and cheese curds.

These sauces typically also contain vinegar or a sour flavoring to balance the richness of the cheese and fries. Traditional poutine sauces (mélange à sauce poutine) are sold in Quebec, Ontario, and Maritime grocery stores in jars or cans and in powdered mix packets. Heavy beef or pork-based brown gravies are rarely used. To maintain the texture of the fries, the cheese curd and gravy are added immediately prior to serving the dish. The hot gravy is usually poured over the cold cheese curds, so that the cheese is warmed without completely melting. It is important to control the temperature, timing and the order in which the ingredients are added, so as to obtain the right food textures which is an essential part of the experience of eating poutine.

Variations ~

There are many variations of poutine. Recently, some outlets have begun to offer vegetarian gravy as an option to cater to vegetarians. Some restaurants offer poutine with such toppings as chicken, bacon, or Montreal-style smoked meat. Some such restaurants even boast a dozen or more variations of poutine.

For instance, more upscale poutine with three-pepper sauce, merguez sausage, foie gras or even caviar and truffle can be found. Some variations eliminate the cheese, but most Québécois would call such a dish a frite sauce ("french fries with sauce") rather than poutine.
Shawinigan and some other regions have patate-sauce-choux where shredded raw cabbage replaces cheese. Fast food combination meals in Canada often have the option of getting french fries "poutinized" by adding cheese curds (or shredded cheese in the Prairies and Western Canada) and gravy.

 Sweet potato has been used to be a healthy alternative to french fries. The idea of adding dietary fiber and vitamins in this classic dish is widely appraised by the public. Crinkle-cut fries may be used as well. Outside Canada, poutine is found in northern border regions of the United States such as New England, the Pacific Northwest and the Upper Midwest.

These regions offer further variations of the basic dish. Cheeses other than fresh curds are commonly used (most commonly mozzarella cheese), along with beef, brown or turkey gravy. In the county culture especially, a mixed fry can also come with cooked ground beef on top and is referred to as a hamburger mix, though this is less popular than a regular mix.

Text Credit: Wikipedia || Photo Credit: Photo by PerryPlanet at wikimediacommons || Sound Credits: Pronunciation of the word Poutine || MP3 player created by sookietex at MP3player