Poutine sounds like it should be among the most wonderful of snacks – it’s made up of fries, gravy and cheese curds, three foods that are good on their own, so, put together, they should be deliciousness times three, right? Sadly, the versions I’ve tasted in Hong Kong haven’t been up to scratch.
Canadian friends living here speak fondly of their favourite places to get poutine back home, and reminisce about eating it after a night of hardcore drinking. They describe how the hot gravy melts the curds and how you have to eat the dish quickly, so the fries don’t get soggy. They argue about what gravy to use and discuss additions they deem acceptable; one friend, whose taste in food I trust, says the version made at Au Pied de Cochon in Quebec, which involves a thick slab of foie gras and a foie gras gravy, is one of the most delicious things she’s eaten. Others think it’s an abomination. For the version I made, I started by roasting duck bones, then simmered them with water and vegetables, and whisked the duck stock with roux. I enriched the gravy with puréed foie gras and seared a slab of foie gras. I double-fried some potatoes, drained them and put them on a plate, added the cheese curds and foie gras, and poured the gravy on top. It was good, but was it worth the trouble? Probably not, but if someone else had made it for me I’d happily scoff it down.