Canada may not have too many national dishes, but poutine is definitely one of the most iconic. It is a great combination of crispy fries, cheese curds and a rich gravy. That is the basic level of poutine, but you can add other toppings like veggies or meats.
Whenever I go to Montreal, Quebec, I make sure to always get a poutine. It’s one of the must-eat foods when I visit (another top item on the list are fresh bagels). Poutine may not sound like enough to be a meal but trust me, it is. There is so much richness from the gravy plus all the cheese and starchy potatoes, you will be in a food coma afterwards.
My fave Montreal restaurant to get poutine has been La Banquise. They have lots of varieties available with many different ingredients. I don’t like to go super crazy with my toppings so I either get the “classique” (fries, gravy, cheese) or the “mexicaine” (classic + pickled peppers, tomato, olives). I like the fresh veggies because they help to cut some of the richness and make me feel like I’m eating something healthy 😛 .
Luckily, I was able to take a trip to Montreal last August when things weren’t too bad with the pandemic. I got my poutine and it was amazing. Here is what my poutine looked like (by the way, this is the small size, in case you were wondering, even though there is nothing small about it).
It’s been many months since having that poutine so I decided it was time to replicate it. I got this huge bag of cheese curds from Costco (Bothwell brand), baked up some frozen french fries and made a simple vegetarian gravy. I also obviously got my fresh toppings too – tomato, pickled peppers, olives – and then it was just time to assemble.
This was as good as I hoped it would be. I love the rich gravy with the cold cheese and crunchy fries. And the little pops of freshness from the veggies adds nice colour. My poutine may not have looked exactly like the original from La Banquise, but it’s the best I can do until the pandemic is over.