Poutine: A Montreal Happy Hour

A few months ago, I celebrated my birthday in Montreal. A must-eat on my list was poutine, a mixture of French fries, cheese and gravy that sounds a bit strange but is extremely delicious. My boyfriend and I enjoyed a couple of plates of poutine at La Banquise the afternoon of my birthday after a day of sightseeing. It was wonderful, and I have wanted to replicate it ever since.

Poutine and beer at La Banquise
Poutine and beer at La Banquise

The poutine at La Banquise was a full meal. We ate it in late afternoon and weren’t hungry the rest of the day. I wanted to find a recipe that was authentic, but hearty enough for a meal. The recipe I found was quite the undertaking; it required that I create the gravy by braising short ribs for three hours. One chilly day in Northern Nevada, I decided it was time to make my own little Montreal happy hour.

Beautiful short ribs... just look at that color!
Beautiful short ribs… just look at that color!

I popped these babies into my oven and let them braise for three hours. A wonderful aroma filled the house, warming up the chilly afternoon.

These beauties are braised.
These beauties are braised.

By the time I pulled my cast iron skillet out of the oven, the ribs were a caramel brown color and glazed with a beautiful sheen. I prepared the gravy, shredded the meat, and got the rest of the ingredients ready.

Anything involving cheese curds is a good time.
Anything involving cheese curds is a good time.

I thought it would be difficult to find cheese curds; surprisingly, it was not (shows what I know). For the fries, I could have gone the homemade route, but I really like the Alexia brand with sea salt. The ingredients on them don’t have anything I can’t pronounce, and it’s a little less work than potatoes.

The gravy mixed with the meat.
The gravy mixed with the meat.

By this point, it was just about happy hour. I gathered the boyfriend and the sister and poured us a couple beers and prepared to chow down.

Awesome, artery-clogging goodness
Awesome, artery-clogging goodness

For me, this recipe yielded about five servings, and it was a full meal. And, yes, it was glorious and worth the three plus hours. It’s great to wash down with a beer. Although we can’t get all of the absolutely awesome Quebecois beers I tried while in Montreal, I recommend Unibroue or Dieu de Ciel for those we can get stateside. Cheers!

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