Poutine Gravy

Poutine Gravy
Poutine Gravy Header

The original Canadian Poutine Gravy! There are all kinds of Poutine Gravies to create numerous Poutine dishes and there is no rule here. In this post however, we are going to focus on one of the original Quebec Poutine, the St Hubert Poutine Gravy and even go further back than this with how the Poutine Gravy evolved over time.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POUTINE SAUCE VS GRAVY

This has been debated in quite a few places. Here’s what it is for me.

  1. Gravy is made with a Roux. Whereas Poutine Gravy is mainly thickened with a Starch. A Roux may be used, but the Poutine Gravy relies more so on Starch for thickening. In fact it can be difficult to tell that it is not all Starch if it wasn’t for the Wheat Flour listing in almost all ingredients listings with major brands.
  2. Poutine Gravy isn’t really on the Herby side or containing aromatic Vegetables. Instead it’s a very smooth sauce, with no bits of Onions, Shallots, or Garlic. Gravy on the other hand often is seasoned with Herbs & Spices and can contain aromatic vegetables.
  3. Poutine has a good amount of Tang to it. Usually in the form of added Vinegar. Gravy does not have this or at least it is unnoticeable.
  4. Poutine Gravy always contains some form of a Tomato product (usually Ketchup). Gravy typically doesn’t unless tomato paste is included while making the Stock or Broth and even still Gravy doesn’t include Ketchup.

Over time various pioneer restaurants often saw their customers adding Ketchup & Vinegar to their Poutines. This is probably why Poutine Gravy always contains a Tomato product & Acidity and is the color it is. These two ingredients (Ketchup & Vinegar) along with a Umami Sauce like HP Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce is what makes a Poutine Gravy.

CLASSIC POUTINE GRAVY

St Hubert originates from Quebec and is generally accepted as the Sauce of choice for Poutine. They have been in business since the 1950’s. This is why it’s a Classic. Their Poutine Gravy ingredients are for the Dry Packets, followed by the Canned Poutine Sauce, listed below.

ST HUBERT POUTINE SAUCE Ingredients

Water, modified corn starch, wheat flour, salt, dextrose, hydrolyzed plant proteins (soy, corn), onion powder, caramel powder (sulphites), canola oil, guar gum, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate, spices, torula yeast, vinegar, tomato powder, citric acid, soy flour, garlic powder, beet powder, natural flavours (soy lecithin). Contains: wheat, soya, sulphites.

ST HUBERT CANNED POUTINE SAUCE INGREDIENTS

Water, Modified corn starch, Salt, Wheat flour, Chicken broth, Chicken fat, Hydrolyzed soy and corn proteins, Dextrose, Sugar, Onion powder, Torula yeast, Caramel, Tomato powder, Spices, Citric acid, Xanthan gum, Garlic powder, Natural flavours, Vinegar, Paprika extract, Herbs, Spice extracts, Corn syrup solids, Thiamine hydrochloride.
Contains: Wheat, Soy.

Poutine Gravy Key Ingredients

From the ingredient listing above in the St Hubert Sauce and other brands that offer the Poutine Gravy Mix, that the same elements are there for a Classic Poutine Gravy.

  1. Thickened mainly with Starch
  2. No additional Herbs or Aromatic Vegetables
  3. Contains a Tomato Product
  4. Contains Acid in some form
  5. Uses Chicken Broth

The main seasonings used and shared across all Poutine Gravies are

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic
  3. MSG
  4. Tomato Powder or other tomato based product
  5. Citric Acid or other acids
  6. Sugar
  7. Paprika
  8. With some form of heat
Poutine Gravy Key Ingredients

Poutine Gravy Key Ingredients

The Ketchup, HP Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce contains all the common ingredients shared across numerous Poutine Gravies. With Vinegar added for the Acid and Pepper for some heat.

How to Make Poutine

Poutine consist of three components. Deep Fried French Fries (Thick Cut), Cheese Curds(Fresh White Cheddar) and Hot Poutine Gravy/Sauce.

St Hubert Poutine

How to Make Poutine

  1. Deep Fry the French Fries while you have the Cheese Curds sitting out at room temp.
  2. Just when the Fries are about done. Heat the Poutine Gravy up.
  3. Plate the Fries, add Cheese Curds and ladle the Gravy over top.

Poutine Fries

Traditional Poutine uses Thick Cut Fries. Usually made fresh on site. For Homemade Poutine, use either Store-bought or Homemade Fries.

Other types of Fries include Crinkle Cut, Shoestring, and even Curly Fries. While not traditional, all of these are still just as good.

Poutine Gravy

The Poutine Gravy evolved from Brown Sauce. St Hubert or other brands of Poutine Gravy is a modified Brown Sauce using Chicken Broth instead of Beef with added ingredients for that Classic Poutine taste.

Classic Poutine Gravy should be brown in color with a reddish orange tinge from the added tomato product. It should be tangy with a bit of heat. Either from Cayenne, Black/White Pepper, ground Peppercorn, or a Hot Sauce added. Transparent from the Starch used to thicken it and very Smooth with no bits of Vegetables or added Herbs. It is not thick where it sits on top of the Fries & Cheese, but instead coats and adheres to the Fries & Cheese.

The Original Poutine Gravy is the same as the Classic but is based on the Brown Sauce and a much darker brown color.

Brown Sauce

The Original Poutine Gravy or Sauce is called Sauce Brune (Brown Sauce) in Quebec. It is made with a good quality Beef Stock and in some cases Beef & Chicken. With a darker brown color from the Beef used to make the Stock. As well as Worcestershire sauce usually added when making the Brown Sauce. A small amount of Roux is used, but it relies mainly on Starch for thickening. This also gives the Sauce that Transparent look and Smoothness.

The Seasoning added to the Brown Sauce is very minimal, often just Onion & Garlic Powder with Worcestershire sauce. This evolved with the addition of a Tomato Product & Acidity due to customers frequently adding these (Ketchup & Vinegar) to their Poutines.

For the Authentic or Original Poutine Gravy it all starts with a Basic Brown Stock.

Basic Brown Stock

A basic Brown Stock is made up of the following ingredients. This can then be used to make the Brown Sauce. A Shortcut is to use Beef Bouillon Cubes or premade Broth.

  • Beef or Veal Bones
  • Water
  • Onions, Carrots, Celery
  • Tomato Paste
  • Bay Leaf, Thyme, Peppercorns, Parsley, whole Cloves

St Hubert’s Poutine Gravy

The St Hubert Poutine Gravy takes the original Brown Sauce and exchanges the Broth with Chicken. Adds a Tomato Product & Acidity with a tiny bit of heat.

The below is my version of a St Hubert Poutine Gravy. It is the same Sauce used for the St Hubert Chicken Platter with some modification. Mainly the Rotisserie Seasoning & Vegetable Broth Powder is exchanged with Garlic, Onion, Paprika and a bit of Pepper. The Starch is combined using either Cornstarch or Potato starch to thicken the Sauce for a Classic Poutine Gravy.

Poutine Gravy

Poutine Gravy

  • 3 C Water
  • 3 Maggi Chicken Bouillon
  • 2 Tbl Fat
  • 1/4 C Tomato Juice
  • 4 Tbl Cornstarch or Potato Starch
  • 2 Tbl HP Sauce
  • 1 Tbl Ketchup & Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Bay Leaves
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper or to taste
Chicken Maggi

Maggi Chicken Bouillon

These are by far the best to use and is the Broth of choice here on JAHZKITCHEN.

Not only for the Price and the amount you get. But the Flavor of these are really superb and you can adjust the strength with a weak or strong broth by adding less or more bouillon cubes.

For the Poutine Gravy you want this on the strong side.

Poutine Brown Sauce

If you’re after that Original Quebec style with the dark brown Poutine Gravy, this is it. Flavor, Color, Consistency and all. It’s a Brown Sauce made with Beef Bouillon instead of Chicken. The same adjustments for the Classic Poutine Gravy with the addition of Ketchup & Vinegar. This can also be made using both Beef & Chicken.

All of the same ingredients go in as the St Hubert Sauce except for the below changes.

  1. HP Sauce is exchanged with Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Beef Bouillon is used instead of Chicken.
  3. The Starch is reduced to 3 Tbl.
  4. With the addition of 1 Tbl of Flour used for a Roux.

These adjustments creates the original Poutine Brown Sauce.

Brown Sauce Poutine

Poutine Brown Sauce

  • 3 C Water
  • 3 Maggi Beef Bouillon
  • 2 Tbl Fat
  • 1/4 C Tomato Juice
  • 3 Tbl Cornstarch or Potato Starch
  • 2 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbl Ketchup & Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Bay Leaves

To make the Poutine Brown Sauce version.

  1. All of the ingredients except the Fat & Flour go into a bowl and set aside to add later.
  2. The Fat and Flour go in a Saucepot to cook a bit on medium heat until light brown, medium brown or dark brown.
  3. Then slowly add the set aside bowl a little at a time. Turn the heat up to max and add more when it starts to boil again. Once thickened remove from the heat.

Poutine Cheese

Poutine purist would argue only same day, freshly made White Cheddar Cheese Curds are to be used in an Authentic Poutine. This was the kind that was made and supplied to local restaurants by Dairy Farmers in Quebec. These are Cheese Curds that have a Squeak to them when bit into. They will lose their squeak as they age.

For us in the Maritimes when making Homemade Poutine, we often use Shredded Cheese and still call it Poutine. Arguably these are Disco Fries. It’s still Poutine to me.

For making Poutine at Home, using other types of cheese is perfectly fine and many of us Canadians do. With some even preferring shredded Cheese over Curds, especially that Mozzarella & Provolone combination, just too good.

I’m more of a Poutine Enthusiast, add whatever you want. If it’s got Fries, Cheese & Gravy it’s Poutine to me.

Cheese Curds

For Authentic Quebec Poutine or Traditional Poutine, use Fresh White Cheddar Cheese Curds. It’s important to get them the day they are made in order to get that Squeak. These can be pretty hard to find so use any alternative of Cheddar Cheese Curds.

I believe Beauceron is the Brand used for Cheese Curds. This is a local Quebec Company that makes these and supplied them to the pioneers of Poutine. Although I think there was like 4 or 5 different dairy farms that made and supplied these to the local Restaurants selling Poutine.

There is also the St Alberts Cheese Curds that a lot of people claim to be superior for Cheese Curds. Either way, you are looking for freshly made White Cheddar Cheese Curds.

The only kind I could find near me was the Squeak’rs Brand. I do plan on getting my hands on some Fresh made Cheese Curds. When I do, I will update the Post.

Cheese Curds
Cheese Curds

It’s important that the cheese be kept at room temp and hot gravy is ladled over in order to soften the cheese.

Shredded Cheese

While not considered a Traditional Poutine, shredded Cheese can be used. Especially so when making this at home. I almost always go for this because I usually have that Cheese in my freezer for other recipes.

The kind that I use is a 3:1 ratio mix of High Moisture Mozzarella Cheese & Provolone. Just Shred the cheese up and combine 3 cups of shredded Mozzarella to 1 cup of shredded Provolone in a Ziploc bag. Mix it up real good and place in the freezer for storage.

Saputos Mozzarella Cheese
Saputos Mozzarella Cheese

Torn Cheese

To mimic the Curds, break off small chunks of White Cheddar Cheese to top the Poutine. I would also pop these in the microwave for a few seconds just to soften them a bit before pouring the hot gravy over.

Higher moisture cheese is preferred and provides better melting. Lower moisture cheese prevents the cheese from melting.

Poutine Gravy Pin

Poutine Gravy

The Classic Poutine Gravy, St Hubert Style. Throw it altogether in a Saucepot, bring to a boil and Ladle that goodness all over Fries & Cheese.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Ingredient, Sauce
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Classic Poutine Gravy, Poutine Brown Sauce, Poutine Gravy, Poutine Sauce, St Hubert Poutine Gravy, St Hubert Poutine Sauce, St Hubert Sauce
Servings: 1 portion
Author: JAH

Equipment

  • 1 Saucepot

Ingredients

  • 3 C Water
  • 3 Cubes Maggi Chicken Bouillon
  • 2 Tbl Fat - Use rendered chicken fat, neutral oil, lard, or butter
  • 1/4 C Tomato Juice
  • 4 Tbl Cornstarch - or Potato Starch
  • 2 Tbl HP Sauce
  • 1 Tbl Ketchup & Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic, Onion, and Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Bay Leaves
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper - or to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients into a saucepot. Mix well and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once thickened remove from the heat.
  • To use over Poutine, reheat until hot again and ladle over the Poutine.

Notes

Any leftover Poutine Gravy can be refrigerated or frozen.
If you after the Original Brown Sauce for Poutine, see the post under Poutine Brown Sauce for the ingredients to exchange and how to make. 
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