What Is Poutine?

Poutine is a classic French-Canadian dish consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. The dish is commonly found in Canada and northern states including Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Poutine is adored in the north for treating hangovers and warming up cold bodies. Along with gravy and cheese curds, poutine can be topped with mushrooms, scallions or meats such as bacon or even lobster meat, depending on the recipe.When poutine is first served, the cheese curds are soft and slightly melted, and the fries are crispy. As the dish is eaten, everything blends and melts together, giving poutine a gooey, delicious taste.

poutine with fries and cheese curds on white plate
julie deshaies/Shutterstock

Origins of Poutine

Though many restaurants claim to be the one that invented poutine, the origins can only be traced back to Quebec in the 1950s. There is, however, a well-cited legend of how poutine came to be: In 1957, a truck driver stopped at a restaurant in Warwick, Quebec and requested warm French fries and cheese curds to go. In response, Fernand Lachance, the restaurant's owner, cried, "Ça va faire une poutine!" Or, "it will make a mess!" According to the legend, the gravy wasn't added until the 1960s to keep the fries warm for longer.

How To Make Poutine

Though poutine has three basic ingredients, recipes can vary when it comes to types of fries, ingredients in the gravy and additional toppings. Here are some renditions of poutine to try:

poutine with fries and gravy in small white dish

Authentic Canadian Poutine

You can't go wrong with this classic poutine recipe. Just deep fry the fries, make the gravy from beef and chicken broth and add the cheese curds. If you live in an area where cheese curds are not easily accessible, substitute chunks of cheddar instead.

Braised Beef Cassava Poutine

This is a hearty variation of poutine. Instead of traditional fries, this recipe has a fried cassava base, which is a type of woody shrub that cooks similarly to potatoes. Just cook the cassava and top with braised beef, cheese curds and gravy.

Sweet Potato Poutine

This recipe uses sweet potato fries in place of regular potatoes for a healthier variation of poutine. The gravy is made of beef stock, olive oil, thyme and brown sugar for a sweet, cheesy and warm meal.

Quebec Duck Poutine

This savory dish is topped with sunny side up eggs and duck gravy. The eggs and gravy combine for an extra gooey topping for a delicious breakfast or late-night snack.

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