Montreal Poutine

from A Taste of Islands 

Much like the cassoulet (meat casserole) or the lobster, poutine has crisscrossed cultural borders and moved up the culinary social ladder. Variations of the traditional recipe of curd cheese, French fries and sauce have expanded to include mergueze sausage, kalamata olives and smoked salmon. Though not typical, the dish may also include additional ingredients such as lobster meat, shrimp, rabbit confit, caviar, and truffles. Another common version of the dish has spaghetti sauce as a substitute for gravy. Contributed by Anastasia Kamanos


French Fries:

5-6 medium/large Idaho or Russet potatoes cut in Juliennes (around ¼ inch thick)

2 cups curd cheese

Velouté Sauce Base:

950 mL chicken stock

50 g flour

50 g butter


Fresh ground pepper


Soak the potatoes in cold water for at least one hour.

To prepare the sauce, bring stock to a boil. Add the butter and the flour, whisking the mixture continually over high heat, for about 4 minutes.

Simmer and continue to cook for around 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Strain the sauce and add salt. Add ground fresh pepper to taste.

Heat oil in fryer to 325-350F.

Strain and towel-dry the potatoes, then place them carefully in the hot oil. Fry for about 2-3 minutes.

Lift basket from fryer and let oil drain for about 5 minutes.

Plunge fries back into hot oil again for about 3 minutes, or until they fry to a nice golden brown colour.

Place the fries on paper towels so excess oil can be absorbed. Salt lightly and serve immediately.

Serving suggestion: Put a handful of curds in a bowl, cover them with French fries, cover French fries with rest of curd. Cover the French fries with the poutine sauce.

The secret of a good poutine lies in the cheese. The cheese flavour and “squeak” is preserved when the cheese is warm, not melted.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: I added thyme and Dijon to the gravy to give it a little pop. I also baked the fries instead of deep frying them. You can go crazy with poutine – add anything you want and tweak it for a different flavour every time you make it. Love recipes like this!

Contents and images used with permission by Island Studies Press.