Poutine for One: 14 easy steps

In a wonderful place called Canada (the land of the big snowball), they enjoy a delicacy called Poutine.

Poutine is an inspired combination of French fries with melted cheese curds and gravy. I find it deeply satisfying and yummy... though some people think it sounds horrible. It's like haggis that way, a savory regional dish that people love or hate. I love them both!

I am fortunate to live in a town where poutine can be ordered at not one but two locations. (Where, you may ask? Flat Street Brew Pub and Hazel.) But I've never made poutine myself and it seems SO simple. This stuff can be made at home, right? Knowing only that there are three ingredients and that they must be piping hot, I invented this "Poutine for One" recipe. Of course it is easily doubled or tripled or more.

Step 1: Assemble your three ingredients. I used frozen straight cut fries, fresh local cheese curds, and boxed organic beef gravy that I'd never tried before.

Step 2: heat your oven according to the fries instructions. These Cascadian Farm fries cook for 10-15 minutes at 450˚F.

Step 3: Portion out fries on a baking sheet. For one person I used half a package of fries.

Step 4: Place fries in oven to bake. Set timer for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Warm up about 1/2 cup of the beef gravy on low heat.

Step 6: After 10 minutes, remove fries from oven and flip them (or flip as many as you can before losing patience) with a spatula. Return to oven.

Step 7: Bake for another 5-7 minutes until most fries are nice and golden brown. NOTE: You must get the fries as brown as you want at this step, because browning opportunities later are limited.

Step 8: Remove fries from oven and transfer to an oven proof serving dish, if you have it, or just a brownie pan. Goal: to melt the cheese curds in a controlled manner.

Step 9: Change oven heat to broil. Use HI if that's a choice.

Step 10: Sprinkle fries liberally with cheese curds. I used half of my container, so about 2-3 ounces.

Step 11: Broil the cheese and fries, keeping a close watch on them until the cheese is very melty. This could take about 8 minutes. More melty is better than more solid (poke the cheese curds to find out).

Step 12: Slide the mass of stuck-together together fries onto a plate.

Step 13: Pour hot gravy over all.

Step 14: Serve!

A few notes: Not having a commercial kitchen with salamander, I was proud of how my first Poutine turned out with broiler. If there's one thing to work on, it's the gravy. The store-bought gravy tasted fine, but it has a very watery consistency that is not ideal for Poutine. Perhaps simmering it more vigorously and/or for longer would render it more velvety.

What do you think? Do you like Poutine? How about haggis?

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