A few years ago, Jake and I took a trip through Montreal. Along the way, we ate once at La Banquise, a diner type shop specializing in craft beer and all things poutine, that wonderful combination of fries, cheese, and gravy. We chowed down on our meals and drank some Unibroue, and I’ve loved poutine ever since. At La Banquise, classic poutine (fries, cheese curds, and gravy) can also come with olives, salsa, beans, hot sauce, pickled veg, and more – it’s a pretty flexible format for any chow you might be craving alongside a few beers.
This recipe is inspired by Edward Lee’s Smoke and Pickles, where he makes a similar poutine using Napa cabbage kimchi. Kimchi adds a welcome spice and acidity to the rich and savory fries. I usually bake our fries because it’s easier for me, but you can also use a deep frier. When using kimchi on poutine I also like to make a miso gravy, but you can substitute chicken or turkey gravy as well. This is the ultimate meal for when you need to eat with your hands, lick your fingers, and chow down.
Serves 2 hungry people or 6 as a snack.
- 2 large russet potatoes
- olive oil and salt
- 1/2 cup Pumpkin Kimchi or a Napa cabbage kimchi
- 2 oz cheese curds or cheddar cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp miso
- cilantro and Sriracha hot sauce for topping
- Wash potatoes and cut into matchsticks, I prefer a cut about 1/2-inch square. Soak the potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes to one hour – this will help to release some starches from the potatoes, resulting in a crisper bake.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Drain the matchsticks and pat dry with a towel. Toss with a splash of olive oil and a few liberal dashes of salt. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning the fries with a spatula after 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them after 30 minutes, checking every few minutes for them to become golden brown and crispy to your liking.
- While the fries are baking, make gravy. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour with a fork or small whisk. Continue stirring the paste a bit for one minute, here you are looking for the flour mixture to become thick and slightly golden brown. Add the miso and stir in, then add 1/4 cup water and mix into a smooth gravy. Let cook for one minute together, then add a bit more water if you’d like the gravy to be looser. Remove from heat.
- Drain the kimchi and chop into 1-inch, bite sized pieces if vegetables are large.
- Combine baked fries, gravy, kimchi, and cheese in a small casserole dish or individual ramekins. Broil for 3-5 minutes on hight, just briefly to melt the cheese.
- Remove from heat and top with cilantro and Sriracha or other hot sauce. Kimchi Poutine is great with a cold glass of La Fin Du Monde – dig in!