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POUTINE

Introduction & method

The minute I first read about poutine I knew I had to try some. The problem is, it hasn't really reached the UK yet, and cheese curds are almost impossible to get hold of. However, if you have a bit of patience you can make your own curds - it's well worth it!

Poutine Recipe

Make the Curds


Sterilise all the equipment you'll be using (draining spoon, palette knife, tongs, measuring cups and spoons) by boiling it in a large pot of water for at least 10 minutes. It's best to use stainless steel tools for cheesemaking. Sterilise your thermometer by rubbing it with IPA (isopropyl alcohol). Dissolve a quarter tablet of rennet in 60 ml (quarter cup) of water. Throw half of it away. Yes, really. Pour your milk into the pot and heat it to 37°C (98°F). Remove the pan from the heat, put a lid on it and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. The milk should have separated into curds and whey after this time - if not, leave it to stand for longer.

Cut the Curds


Make a small cut in the curds with a palette knife. If the two side of the cut stay separate, you have achieved a 'clean break' and can continue. Cut the curds into a 2.5cm (one inch) grid, making sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom. Now make some diagonal cuts to try to cut the curds into something like cubes.

Cook the Curds


Put the pot back on the heat and slowly, over about 30 minutes, raise the temperature to 47°C (116°F). Maintain the curds at this temperature for 30 minutes.

Drain the Curds


Line a colander with a piece of muslin. Place the bowl over a colander. Scoop the curds out of the whey with a perforated spoon. Tie the corners of the cloth together and hang it up over a bowl to drain for about 20 minutes.

Salt the Curds


Unwrap the curd bundle. Sprinkle with half of the salt. Cut the blob of curd down the middle, and fold one piece over onto the other. arrange into a circular blob, sprinkle with the remaining salt, and cut and fold again, at right angles to the first cut.

Press the Curds


If you have a cheese mould (a plastic container with slits in the sides and bottom), place it on a plate or shallow bowl, line it with cheesecloth and tip the curds into it. If you don't have a cheese mould, you could maybe improvise by cutting slits in a small plastic tub. Weight down the top of the curd block with heavy jars or bags of flour or sugar. Press it for a few hours, turning and draining occasionally until virtually all the whey is gone.

Finish the Curds


Cut or tear the curd block into bite-sized chunks or cubes. You can use the curds immediately, or store in a zip-lock bag for a day or two in the fridge. Make sure you let the curds return to room temperature before you use them.

Make the Gravy


Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir in the flour and mix to a smooth paste. Cook it for a few minutes so the paste browns. Add the stock and stir well. Add the tomato passata, simmer for about 5 minutes, then taste it. Add seasoning if needed. 

Make the Chips


Peel the potatoes and cut them into 12mm (half an inch) sticks. Rinse them well under cold water, and pat them dry. Heat oil (or beef dripping/tallow) in a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Test the temperature by adding a small piece of potato. The fat around it should bubble gently, but the potato should not turn brown. Add the chipped potatoes and cook gently for about 10 minutes until they feel soft. Remove the chips and drain them. Increase the heat and test again. This time, a piece of potato should bubble rapidly and turn brown in 2-3 minutes. Lower the half-cooked chips into the fat. Do this in batches and be very careful not to splash hot oil around or let it bubble over. The chips should turn golden brown in 2-3 minutes. Drain them well.

Assemble the Poutine


Place chips on a plate, scatter on a generous handful of curds, and pour over an extravagant amount of gravy.



The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Poutine on YouTube.

 
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Ingredients & Info


CHEESE CURDS
•  2 litres milk (not UHT)
•  ½ tsp cheese salt or kosher salt
•  ⅛ tablet rennet
CHIPS
•  1 kilo potatoes
GRAVY
•  500 ml beef or chicken stock
•  2 tbsp tomato passata
•  50 grams butter
•  50 grams flour

PLUS
Vegetable oil, beef dripping or tallow for frying.

UNITS:
Metric
Imperial
US (cups, sticks, etc)

Serves 4 
Prep time: 30 minutes. Cheese setting time: 3 hours.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours 50 minutes.

Watch the video on YouTube