One of Canada’s tastiest exports, poutine has been a favorite of mine since I was too young to safely use the stove by myself. I was first introduced to this simple-but-delicious combination of gravy, potatoes and cheese when I was at summer camp in Ontario, the savory, satisfying splendor of a hearty serving of poutine is something I haven’t been able to forget. Much to my disappointment, I learned the hard way that poutine was not served in all American restaurants. Over the years, I tried a few times to recreate the childhood comfort dish of my dreams on my own, to little avail. It seemed like I would be doomed to only enjoy poutine during those short summer months, and suffer for the other 10 months of the year without my starchy, cheesy favorite.
Every time I tried to make poutine it felt like something was just wrong. Most of my attempts were made in the early days of the internet, when food blogs weren’t quite as prolific, nor were they as prescriptive as they are today. When I first became gluten intolerant, I mourned the loss of the meal that was already all-too-absent from my life, and it took me a few long, hard years to realize that I didn’t have to be poutineless for the rest of my days. After doing some research, I decided I would try and find the best gluten-free poutine substitute, because sometimes you really just need a simple, comforting classic dish from your childhood to get through the week.
After many failed attempts at making the gravy to coat my coveted potato and cheese combination, I finally found a balance of ingredients that really tastes like it should. A base of butter, chicken stock, beef stock and pepper bring out the buttery, peppery flavors that make this recipe the delight that it is. This recipe can be made vegetarian with the substitution of vegetable stock for the meat-based stocks that I use below. A vegan version of this recipe can be made using a vegan cheese, like this one by the Minimalist Baker. Originally, I tried to round out my gravy after I’d made my roux with corn starch — I do not recommend this, as it will make the gravy clump in a way that’s really difficult to break up with a whisk.
Easy Gluten Free Poutine
Time Required: Approx 20-25 minutes
Skill Level: 🔪 (Easy)
Ore-Ida Shoestring Fries (gluten free, check package for labeling if you opt for a different variety)
8 oz cheese curds
3 tbsp sweet rice flour (can likely be substituted for corn starch in a pinch)
3 tbsp butter
1 cup beef broth (warmed)
1 cup chicken broth (warmed)
Pepper to taste
1) Heat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Add fries in a single layer to the baking sheet, and put into oven while you prepare your gravy. Fries will take approximately 13-17 minutes to cook.
2) Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp of rice flour and whisk until bubbly and browned.
3) Once butter/flour roux begins to brown, add beef stock and whisk together. Whisk in chicken stock until well combined.
4) Continue to whisk together until gravy is smooth. Once gravy is thick, continue to heat through, stirring often to prevent clumping.
5) When fries have reached desired doneness, remove from oven and serve on warmed plates. Top with cheese curds, then immediately with gravy. If a little green is desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley and eat immediately. It isn’t the most beautiful dish in the world, but it is one of the most delicious!