Im letzten Teil ihres Gastbeitrags bringt uns Übersetzerin Tanja Senica ein typisch kanadisches Gericht näher.
Mmm, what is better than a nice cold beer on a hot day like this? Yes, the heat wave or “canicule” as we say it in French has finally reached Montreal as well. We are expecting 33 degrees Celsius today with a feels like temperature of above 40 –a great day for chilling in the park, unless you have to work, of course. There are incredibly many parks in and around Montreal. Basically –as many of you may know– Montreal is an island surrounded by the St. Lawrence River. You only need to do a few steps and you get this amazing view:
However, I will not write about that again, I promised to tell you what a poutine is. Well, it is basically French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce. The poutine originated in the province of Quebec in the late 1950s, supposedly not too far away from Montreal. It is today a typical Canadian dish (next to anything made with maple syrup) that is usually classed under fast-food, although I would call some of its variations rather high-class. Why is that? On the one hand, poutine is being served in fast-food restaurants and pubs such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King, and on the other hand, you can get it with smoked meat, foie gras, and even lobster, caviar and truffle or other exotic ingredients which makes it pretty crème de la crème.
The poutine is rather heavy due to its large amount of cheese and the gravy sauce which is why it is extremely popular in ski resorts since greasy food helps you to stay warmer and recover faster from frostbites. Nonetheless, it is also perfect for a late snack after a long night of clubbing. In fact, the famous “La Banquise” has been serving over 30 different types of poutine for decades and attracts hundreds of people every day –and night, it’s namely open 24/7. And as I mentioned in my previous article: There is now a Poutine Fest! Mmm, the best poutines being served at the same place…
Enough said, let’s do it!
1) First prepare the French fries. They should ideally be medium thick and maybe even doubly fried for the perfect crunchiness. Pay attention: While they are supposed to be crispy on the outside, they should still stay soft on the inside.
2) Second step is the cheese curds. You can prepare this in advance so that the fries stay warm when you serve the dish. The size of cheese curds can vary but try to make them a bit smaller than bite-sized. In Europe, I would recommend to take mozzarella since there are no typical cheese curds for poutine.
3) Last but not least: prepare the brown gravy. It should traditionally be a light and thin chicken, veal, or turkey gravy, somewhat salty and mildly spiced with a hint of pepper. The gravy should be thick, but still fine enough to easily go down into the mass of fries and cheese curds.
4) Important: It is crucial to control the temperature, timing and the order in which the ingredients are added. Therefore, to maintain the texture of the fries, the cheese curds and gravy are added just before serving the dish. The hot gravy is usually poured over the room-temperature cheese curds, so that the cheese is warmed without completely melting.
5) Finally, you can add anything your heart and hungry stomach desires: from vegetables to meat and nuts and even maple syrup –a specialty from Canada. My favorite toppings for poutine are tomato, onions, corn, ground beef, sour cream, and avocado (not all together, though).
Bon appétit! :)