Meat Free Monday / Travels

In Montreal we ate Poutine….so I’ve made Poutine (veghotpot style)!

There were dishes that stood out from each city we visited on the honeymoon and I wanted to have a go at making some of them and putting my own stamp on it. Today I’ll focus on Montreal since it was our first stop!

When we first got to Montreal it was quite late and we were tired from a full day travelling, not to mention that we’d landed in Montreal at 5.30pm their time but to our bodies it was 10.30pm! We hadn’t done much research on the area of Montreal we were staying in because we had decided it was going to be 3 days of chilling out and relaxing so all we needed was a park, a bar and a good place to eat!
By the time we got organised and went out to find some dinner it was 3am back home! As it got dark the visions of the old beautiful town people had described to us disappeared and all we could find were strip clubs (literally about 5 in a row)! My heart sank a little, and even further when we couldn’t find a pub or bar (The next day we walked around again and realised in the dark of the night and our tiredness we had walked the wrong way and if we had walked the other way we would have found restaurants, shops and pubs! We also walked for miles and found the old port which was lovely and also the street market with about 100 pubs on the road!)… anyway, we started to get desperate for a beer and a burger so we walked back to this little hidden restaurant we’d spotted by the hotel and just crossed our fingers that it wasn’t a complete dive! It was called “Cheeburger Cheeburger” and it became our regular for 3 days.

They did a build your own cheese burger which we tried on the second night. I picked the veggie burger and topped it with banana peppers, lettuce, tomato and goats cheese, I had thought banana peppers would be like bell peppers but noo they blew my head off!! We especially liked the bun because it was glazed and soft, just enough bread to hold the burger together. And we shared some chips and onion rings….not a healthy start to our holiday I know but delicious none the less!

The main thing that caught our eye on the menu however was Poutine. Not knowing what this was we were assured by the waiter that it must be tried so for our dinner on the first night we ordered poutine (although I stopped eating it after a few minutes as it tasted like beef stock and I hadn’t thought to double check – 3am!!). We kept seeing it everywhere and after checking if it was veggie we ate it a couple of times. Poutine is traditionally chips (fries) with small balls of  cheese curds and topped with a rich dark brown gravy.

I decided I had to re create this but with a few twists. I have used a mix of seasoned potatoes and parsnips with herbs as the base, I used some boursin mini cheeses instead of the cheese curds and I made a rich onion gravy to go on top!

This was the level of caramelisation I took the onions to untill I added the flour, mustard seeds, vegetable stock and balsamic vinegar to make the gravy. You can let them get a little darker if you want but I found the flavour rich enough.

I left the skins on the potatoes and parsnips as this was how we had eaten it in Montreal. I added salt, pepper, dried garlic, chilli flakes and some finely sliced sage (left over from my gnocchi) however thyme would also be delicious! Drizzle it with good quality olive oil and roast!

I spent ages in the super market looking for a suitable cheese for this dish and after debating between goats cheese, curds or quark I spotted these minis and decided they would be perfect because they were small balls exactly like the shape of the curds in the poutine we tried, they would add extra flavour and they were soft enough to melt underneath all that gravy!

First pile your roasted potatoes and parsnips into a serving dish and arrange to look rustic and pretty. We always had it served in a bowl or a basket styled dish but Ive used a serving dish here.

Add the cheese, scatter it around so it is evenly spread! Then add that rich onion gravy on top and allow the cheese to melt slightly before tucking in…mmm delicious!

I don’t know if I can call this a meal because it’s not exactly nutritionally balanced I’d say it was more of an extravagant side dish or a dish to serve up with some beers when your watching the footie! I served it for me and Scott for dinner and he had sausages and veg and I had it with a big pile of brocolli and spinach and a veggie burger with no bun!

Onion Gravy: Left over gravy can be frozen.

1 Onion – thinly sliced
Drizzle Vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon Light Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon Plain Flour
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
250- 300ml Vegetable stock

In a large saucepan cook the onions in the vegetable oil stirring occassionally untill soft. Add the sugar and continue to cook untill they are a nice dark golden colour.

Add the mustard seeds and flour and give it all a good stir then add the balsamic vinegar and vegetable stock stirring constantly so as not to get any lumps. Once the flour and stock have mixed smoothly leave it to cook for 10-15 minutes on a gentle heat untill the gravy has reduced down to a thick gravy consistency.

Has anyone tried Poutine or created their own version of it? Has anyone eaten in Cheeburger Cheeburger?

I looked at reviews online of Cheeburger Cheeburger since getting back and was shocked to find so many negatives! We found the staff very friendly, helpful and fun. The food was basic burger joint food but we thought it was good quality – especially for the cheap price! Oh and we loved the fact the drinks were served in Jam Jars, we’d like to do this when we have a summer BBQ (If summer ever arrives in the UK).

7 thoughts on “In Montreal we ate Poutine….so I’ve made Poutine (veghotpot style)!

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  4. The phrase “Cheeborger, Cheeborger” refers to a famous skit from the mid-1970s on the American television program “Saturday Night Live” which featured John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd recreating an actual restaurant in Chicago called the Billy Goat Tavern that is still open. This is an underground tavern that is frequented by actors, reporters and other ne’er-do-wells (yours truly included as a younger man) that is run by a Greek named Sam Sianis. By “underground”, I mean it is literally underground, beneath the Wrigley Building in Chicago’s central business district.

    Sam’s uncle, also named Sam Sianis, in the 1940s famously put a curse on the Chicago Cubs baseball team because they wouldn’t let his goat into their playing field, Wrigley Field.

    Flash forward 60 years later and my wife and I saw Paul McCartney perform at Wrigley Field last summer, who kept referring to it as “Wrigley’s Field”, which I thought was very charmingly British.

    Small world, huh?

    Here’s a link to the skit:

    Next time you are in the States, make sure to visit Chicago! Love your blog!

    • Thank you so much for the background on that, how interesting that there are now restaurants named after a fast talking man from a restaurant in Chicago! They had definitely taken other influences from it too such as an entrance from an underground shopping centre and the diner style decor. We had always wondered why they had missed out the ‘s’ in cheeseburger.Sounds like there are a lot of real characters to be found in the Billy Goat Tavern!

      We visited Dan Ackroyd’s vineyard on our way back from Niagara Falls and tried some of his ice wine (wine made from frozen grapes). Really interesting to see. We also had a blues brother song as our first dance at our wedding hehe (big fans!).

      We’d love to visit Chicago! I think over the next few years I will have to base most of my main holidays in America because there are so many areas I can’t wait to explore.
      Thank you again for your comment and for reading my blog, I love your blog too 🙂

  5. Yum! That sounds awesome. I love the way food we try when travelling sticks with us, sounds like you had a great time. 🙂

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