Never underestimate the power of a Healthier Oven-Baked Poutine! Not deep-fried, but baked to perfection! Enjoy it for Canada Day, serve it on Super Bowl night, or any other night. It's so good, you'll definitely want to have it more than just once or twice a year!
What is Poutine?
First emerging in the 1950s, poutine is a French Canadian dish traditionally made by deep-frying French fries, topping them with cheese curds, and then pouring gravy over it all. Basically, causing a "mess" on the plate, or as the French Canadians called it, "Poutine". If you're interested to read more about this, here is the article by McLean's, "why poutine is Canada’s most delicious mess".
Which potatoes are best to use for the Poutine?
Idaho, or russet potatoes would work best. They are high in starch and low in moisture. So the fries turn out crispy on the outside and tender, not soggy, on the inside. Avoid using waxy potatoes such as fingerling, new potatoes, red skin potatoes, or baby potatoes.
The next best option to russet potatoes would be an all-purpose potato such as Yukon Gold. But you really will get the best texture with russet potatoes.
How to cut potatoes for French fries:
You may like to peel the potatoes before cutting. I personally just scrub them well under warm running water and cut the potatoes with the skin on. This will save you some time.
To cut the potatoes for French fries:
- Place potato on a cutting board and cut each potato, lengthwise, into approximately 1/4" rounds.
- Stack the round slices, two or three at a time, and cut lengthwise into 1/4" sticks.
Where can I buy cheese curds?
Cheese curds are almost always available at a grocery store. You can usually find them next to the regular cheeses in the dairy aisle. If you can't find them in a grocery store, specialty cheese stores always have them.
If all else fails and you cannot find cheese curds, the best substitution would be to use a Mozzarella cheese block. Simply tear pieces of the cheese to an approximate size of cheese curd. Do not grade or shred the cheese because you don't want it to melt completely. You want it to look like cheese curd chunks!
The gravy for the Healthier Oven-Baked Poutine:
Traditional gravy for poutine is made with some butter, flour, and beef broth. To thicken the gravy, cornstarch and a little bit of cold water is mixed together and added to the gravy.
Because cornstarch is mostly carbs and is high in calories and low in nutrients, I prefer not to use it in my recipes, including this Healthier Oven-Baked Poutine recipe. The gravy in this recipe is thickened with wheat, or all purpose, flour. It is actually a more nutritious alternative with less carbs, more vitamins, and more fiber than cornstarch.
How to store and reheat leftover Poutine:
You can store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
To reheat, preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Heat the leftover poutine for 10 to 15 minutes.
Try these other side dishes:
Healthier Oven-Baked Poutine
For the French fries you'll need:
- 5-6 russet potatoes washed/scrubbed, skin on (or peeled if you prefer)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the cheese you'll need:
- 2 cups cheese curds or 2 cups chunks from Mozzarella cheese block
For the gravy you'll need:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup wheat or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Prepare the fries:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse the Russet potatoes well to get rid of any dirt. Cut the potatoes: place the potato on a cutting board and cut each potato lengthwise into approximately 1/4" rounds. Stack the round slices, two or three at a time, and cut lengthwise into 1/4" sticks.
- place sliced potatoes on the parchment paper-lined sheet and season with salt, ground black pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Drizzle with three tablespoons of vegetable oil and toss well with your hands to combine.
Distribute potatoes evenly in one layer and bake at 450°F for approximately 40 minutes, flipping them over about 25-30 minutes into baking - while potatoes are baking, prepare the gravy:
Prepare the gravy:
- In a medium-size saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Whisk well to combine.
- Slowly stir in 1/4 cup of flour, whisking the flour in the butter until well combined. Continue whisking for approximately 1 - 2 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.
- Slowly pour in 1.5 cups of beef broth and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, whisking well until combined. Set gravy aside. Stir in more flour if you prefer thicker gravy - stir 1 tablespoon at a time, checking for consistency.
- Reheat the gravy in the saucepan, over medium-low heat, stirring.
- Place the French fries on a plate, or serving platter, and top with the cheese curds. Pour the hot gravy over the cheese curds so they soften under the heat. Serve while hot.
- For more flavor, top the cheese curds with bacon bits, or fried bacon pieces, before pouring gravy on top.
- You can store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Heat the leftover poutine for 10 to 15 minutes.