If you are confused and bewildered, well then chances are you aren’t Canadian. Poutine and beaver tails are two (very yummy) dishes that are famous in Canada but not so much in the rest of the world (yet).
Poutine [poo-tin] or [pootsin] is a French Canadian dish that can either be served as a side or snack, but let’s be honest, it is filling enough to be a meal!
According to the Complete Canadian Curriculum 2 (that I am forcing my son to complete in addition to the homework he gets from his Italian public school), Poutine was invented sometime in the late 1950’s. Several communities in Quebec claim to be the birth place of poutine but the exact origins are a little fuzzy.
Beaver tails are a variation on a very popular theme; fried dough. Flip a Canadian nickel and you will find our national animal; the hardworking beaver. These treats are stretched and pulled to look more or less like a beaver’s tail before being fried and topped up, sugar and cinnamon being among the most common of toppings but really, there aren’t many limits to the imagination here.
I had the great pleasure of introducing my boys to both these culinary wonders this summer while we were on vacation and I am please to report that both were met with wonder, appreciation and a little bit of greed!
Requests have been made (repeatedly) for me to make both these dishes at home, and sooner or later I will, I’m just waiting for winter to roll in!
If you want to try to make these at home, the poutine is reasonably easy: Fries, fresh cheese curds, beef, brown or turkey gravy, in that order! I personally like the fries rough cut in large wedges and fried until crispy. Place the fries in a bowl or serving dish that isn’t too deep. Scatter the cheese curds over the fries and then cover with generous amounts of hot gravy.
It is important to assemble quickly while the potatoes and gravy are hot to make sure that the cheese curds melt nicely.
For expats that want to try this, I know some people have used fresh mozzarella as a replacement for cheese curds and while it isn’t quite the same thing it will do until a better substitute is found. The alternative is to order the cheese curds on line from Canadian Favourites.
I wanted to post a recipe for the beaver tails but I found myself in an odd situation. My intention was to find and experiment with beaver tail recipes, choose the one that we liked best and post it (with proper credit) here so that anyone that wanted to try them, could. However, researching this subject showed me that (literally) the same recipe is out there all over the place, on several different blogs and websites. The exact same ingredients, measurements and instructions. This left me perplexed and a little uneasy, so, since I would have no idea who to credit, I won’t be posting a recipe. I will however, recommend that you type *beaver tails* into your favourite search engine and go to town.