But I was inspired recently to look locally for a wonderful side dish: poutine. Fries, Curds and Gravy.
I grew up in South-Western Ontario, where poutine was 'poo-teen' and was any fries covered in cheese and gravy. But having moved to Ottawa and so very close to the Quebec border, I have come to understand that poutine, good traditional poutine is much more specific, simple and guarded dish that means a lot to many people.
Poutine has been around since the 50's, and you can finds versions of it at chip wagon stands, restaurants, and even KFC, McDonald's, Harvey's and Burger King. But there has been an explosion of things poutine in the print and social media West of the nation's capital. The Toronto Star, Blog T.O. debates, the opening of two poutine establishments (Smokies & Poutini's)in Toronto, even a blog "Curdsade" devoted to finding good 'tine'. Real poutine is being discovered there, but the people of Quebec have been there done that. Or here in Ottawa @ Foodieprints.
But now, for the first time, I wanted to recreate this wonderful dish. As authentic as possible, but adding the Wing King flare. Poutine is awesome, but can it be, super-awesome?
(I seem to have a copyright battle with YouTube constantly now. I cannot put the video on Blogger because "Embedding disabled by request" but I didn't request it. Who did? I don't know. I want to scream. Sorry for the inconvenience and please take the time to check it out)
WK's HOT WING POUTINE
- potato (2),
- poutine sauce (chicken gravy)
- cheese curd (fresh! squeaky!)
- hot wings, sauced, bones removed, shredded
- Cut cleaned potatoes into fries (not too thin, not too thick), place into ice water, then dry.
- Blanch potato by deep frying at approx 340 for about 2 mins. Remove, towel oil off, place in fridge for approx 1 hour.
- Bring poutine sauce/gravy to a simmer.
- Crank deep fryer up to 375 (highest on the fryer). Return fries and cook until golden and crispy (approx 4-8 minutes).
- When frites are done, towel off oil again, then liberally salt and toss.
- Plate fries. Add cheese curds. Pour gravy over top.
STOP HERE IF MAKING CLASSIC POUTINE. CONTINUE IF MAKING HOT WING POUTINE
- Take hot wings (Buffalo style, or just hot or any kind of wing that is already cooked), remove bones and shred. (Note: one could use chicken thighs or other cuts, but it won't be the same).
- Add wings to top of poutine and enjoy!
The players. It's oh so simple.
Cheese curd. This is cheddar and yellow - classic curd is white (like mozzarella). The store only had cheddar. Around Ottawa, St. Albert's is THE curd for poutine. Remember, fresh and squeaky!
Store bought poutine sauce. I did not want to make my own, so I went with the experts: St Hubert rotisserie chicken used to be all over Ontario when I was young, then they pretty much disappeared except for Quebec.
While this is simply a chicken gravy, the ingredients on the back was not the same as 'chicken gravy.' It's damn good too!
Cutting the potato. That's right, fresh cut fries (FCF). Just like a chip truck. I was also using old oil in the deep fryer, just like a chip truck.
Good enough to eat as is. I've tried making FCF before to poor results, but the blanching/double fry method is the way to go.
What Would I Do Differently Next Time? As a straight poutine, this was right on. Nothing to improve other than fresher cheese curds and Kosher/Sea Salting of the fries maybe. As for making it a better Hot Wing Poutine, I would make the wings more wet with sauce, and maybe crumble bleu cheese on top.
A lot of people have gotten very gourmet with poutine (foie gras, Beer braised beef ) but I like it classic, or just the Buffalo chicken, or maybe bacon? Actually pulled pork poutine sounds good. Ok, there are lots of ways to go. Just remember that it's gotta be the Trinity ingredients: mozzarella makes this New Jersey Disco Fries. Stick to the Quebec stuff. Bon Appetit!