Winter Sunday nights call for warm comfort food. It’s not particularly cold tonight though, but as this season is called Winter, I am entitled to eating this type of food if I want to, period. I had enough of healthy food for a week after the festive month, so I’m turning my back to healthy veggies and indulging in a bit of junk food for a change. But not just any junk food. I am taking this opportunity to achieve a fun world food challenge, and cook for the first time a Poutine from Quebec, Canada.
The first time I came to know about this national dish was when my brother Thomas arrived in Montreal, Quebec, in 2011. During his first week over there, he was pretty excited to discover a brand new life-style for him in North America, and he’d share all of his new experiences almost daily on Facebook. I still remember the day he posted a picture of his first poutine because I had two reactions. First of all, I was like “Whaaaaaat???!!! Melted cheese over fries, and a warm sauce to top it all??!!!” I am French, and I couldn’t “get it”, as in my country fries are not topped with anything at all, it would look gross, messy, opposite to yummy, and sooooo not pretty. Today, I can’t remember why as French we would feel so annoyed by this dish styling, because now that I’ve tasted it, it’s just so good, and I find it is such a brilliant idea! I mean, I love fries, I love melted cheese, I love sauce, why wouldn’t I love the poutine?! Then my second reaction was more like “Hahahahahahahahaha!”. Because you need to know that “poutine”, spelled like this in France, is exactly how we spell in French the name of the Russian president Putin. So, obviously, I thought the dish’s name was some kind of Quebecoise joke, which of course was not :) But that was very funny, because a total lack of general knowledge led me to laughing for no apparent reason.
My own poutine recipe is close to the original recipe, but with a twist. I added ground meat. Not because I wanted to, but I hadn’t got enough fries, and I wanted to cook something a bit consistent to fight the cold (which was not there, okay, I’m getting out now…). Also, I did not have BBQ sauce so I used Ketchup as a topping and combined the beef to a homemade easy and quick to put together tomato sauce (I know it’s far from BBQ sauce flavors but had no alternatives left). Finally I couldn’t find the right type of cheese, so I improvised with what I had in the fridge, preferably tasty stinky cheeses to bring on some powerful flavors and balance the basic taste of Ketchup – thus the absence of BBQ sauce. I therefore apologize to the official poutine recipe lovers, but at the same time I feel good being so honest and not trying to do as many bloggers do when they write a post about a recipe with a twist, and not mention there’s a twist, leading you to trust they give you an original and official recipe. I hate it when they do that. So this poutine of mine is modified, please take note!
- quantity of potatoes for 2 servings
- quantity of ground beef for 2 servings
- 1/2 yellow onion and 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of heavy cream
- stinky cheeses to melt (I used Epoisse and Reblochon, super stinky), but the regular cheeses used in Canada are Cheddar cheese and eventually Mozzarella cheese (not stinky at all then)
- a bit of tomato purée
- salt, pepper, paprika and Cayenne.
- Toppings: Ketchup and chopped scallion greens
- Prepare your French fries in the oven (or the fryer) as you usually do. If you make them in the oven, it is much healthier, and besides you can sprinkle salt and paprika while baking them.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a saucepan and begin frying the onion, but don’t let it brown too much. When it does start browning, add the tomato purée.
- Season the raw ground beef with salt, pepper and Cayenne.
- Add the ground beef to the saucepan and stir well to combine with the onion, until cooked through.
- When your fries are ready, serve on a dish of your choice, and immediately top them with the warm ground beef, onion and tomato mixture.
- In the same saucepan, start heating the heavy cream, and immediately add the cheeses. Melt it all on medium low fire. When ready, pour the warm melted cheese over the meat and fries.
- Drizzle with Ketchup, and chop some scallion greens over the dish.
- Serve warm (and eat with a fork, or you will be a mess within no time!)
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.