The classic Québec poutine is made up of French fries, cheese curds, and a velouté sauce or brown gravy. Poutine is more familiar as a late night snack at a diner. In Boston, where I spent some time as a college student, the dish was better known as cheese fries. But I’m here to tell you that this dish can easily be thrown together at home. Variations of this Canadian import can be found in every region of the United States and the following are just a few examples:
Poutine Italienne: Uses marinara sauce instead of gravy.
Philly Fries: Topped with Cheese Whiz.
Chili cheese fries: Topped with beef chili and cheddar cheese.
Disco Fries: Also known as “Elvis Fries” are served mostly in northern New Jersey and select New York City diners. It is typically made with brown gravy, mozzarella, and heavier steak fries. Some sources cite that Disco fries are made with shredded cheddar cheese or American cheese.
You get the idea, French fries, cheese, and sauce. Voilà…poutine. Here’s a version I like to call Poutine Corée or Korean-style Cheese Fries. Be forewarned, this version has a bit of heat! By the way, here’s my sweet version of poutine!
Notes: Ideally, you want to top the fries with cheese curds. I used Farmer’s cheese for this recipe and in the past I found mozzarella to be a suitable substitute. This dish is best served hot and with a few cold brews!
Yields 3-4 servings
16 oz. bag of frozen French fries (medium to thick cut works better, crinkle cut is my fave)
1 tablespoon dwaenjang (Korean soybean paste)
2 tablespoons kochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup of chicken broth
4 oz. cheese curds OR Farmer’s cheese OR ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 – Prepare French fries as directed on the package. You can prepare the sauce while the fries are baking.
2 – In a small bowl, mix together the dwaenjang, kochujang, garlic, and sesame oil. Set aside.
3 – Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
4 – Whisk in flour and cook until the roux (the base for the gravy) is light brown in color.
5 – Whisk in the chicken broth, pouring a little at a time. Whisk until sauce is thickened. If the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a little more broth.
6 – Lower heat to medium-low. Whisk in the red pepper mixture.
7 – On a large platter or plate, layer French fries, cheese, and gravy. Enjoy!