It's been a while since I've last written. Certainly these past few months have been a bit intense, and I've found myself with some consistently long workdays with limited time for anything other than academic or work-related writing.Given that today marks the start of a new month, it seems as good a time as any to write again. Many of you are already aware of our quirks and the ability to turn about any holiday into a food-related event. Today we give a shout out to our neighbors to the north - Canada. July 1 is Canada Day. Canada Day commemorates the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single dominion within the British Empire. Canadians typically celebrate Canada Day with fireworks, parades, concerts, and barbecues. We thought that we would create our own Canada Day celebration with poutine for dinner.
For those of you who are not familiar with poutine, it is essentially cheese curd and gravy over fries. Think of it as a Canadian version of chili cheese fries. I'm not totally sure as to whether poutine is a routine part of Canada Day celebrations, but I can say that it has become one our favorite Canadian foods. I first became aware of poutine in 2010 during the Vancouver Olympics - most likely through some type of televised special feature. When my travels took me to Montreal later in 2010, I sought out the opportunity to try some poutine for myself. Let's just say that I continue to seek out good spots for poutine whenever I am in Canada, and we've worked to refine some of our own skills.
If poutine is really just fries, cheese curd, and gravy, what skills might one need to create great poutine? Here are a few pointers that we have picked up through making our own poutine and experiencing poutine at other locations.
1. The cheese - Really, it's your own preference for type of cheese curd. We tend to prefer white cheddar cheese.
2. The gravy - Most poutines feature a beef broth-based gravy. I will share how we prepared ours a little later.
3. The fries - Most poutines will include a thicker cut fry. It's up to you whether you bake or deep fry them. For today's poutine, we went with the deep fryer.
4. The extras - This is where you can get creative with what you feel may complement the cheese and gravy. I've seen variations that include bacon, Philly-style beef, as well as sautéed peppers and onions.
Here are a few of our favorite locations in Canada for acquiring poutine. Hopefully, we will have a chance to visit them again.
- La Belle Patate - locations in Victoria and Vancouver. We've been to the one in Victoria which is a bit out of the way from the main part of town. If you aren't paying attention, you might miss this location. They have multiple varieties of poutine including La Belle Special and Meat Lovers.
- The Pink Bicycle - yes, that's really the name of the place. It is also located in Victoria. Their Pink Bike Poutine has a pretty amazing rosemary gravy.
- Eddie Burger Bar - this spot is in Banff. My husband had a trip to Banff a few years ago, and I looked up places for poutine. He ordered a burger and poutine and decided that the burger was pretty amazing, until he tried the poutine. I'm hoping to visit this spot myself.
- Montreal Poutine - I'm fairly certain this is the place I visited in Montreal. The pictures of the outside seating look very familiar and the location on the map is about right. This place is located in the old part of the city.
I wish I could take credit for tonight's cooking, but my husband took over while I was in a Zoom meeting. I did have him take some pictures to document the process.
Creating the Gravy:
Step 1: Saute some bell pepper and onion (the onion was from our garden
Step 2: Assemble the other necessary ingredients
- Make a roux with about 1 stick of butter and 1/4 cup flour. Stir in 20 ounces of beef broth and 10 ounces of chicken broth (yes, really). Season with some salt and stir in the sautéed onions and peppers. your gravy will look something like this:
Step 3: Prepare the fries. As I mentioned, we elected to use the deep fryer
Step 4: Assemble the poutine. Put some fries in a bowl, stir in a little gravy. Add a few more fries and some cheese curd. Add a little more gravy and eat!