Tater tot poutine is an easy, delicious way to virtually visit Quebec, Canada for a meal. Frozen tater tots make it a snap to re-create a French-Canadian classic: poutine. This dish is usually made with fries, but I find frozen tots work well. If you bake them the right way, they get super crispy and easily hold up to the gravy. See my tips below for baking an ultra crispy tater tot perfect for this poutine.
But First, A Story
I’ve been thinking a lot about travel lately. I really miss it! When I think of travel, it often leads to thinking about great food I’ve had while traveling and the memories that go with it.
The first trip that Sean and I took together was to Montreal. Honestly, it was SO long ago that I remember just a few things about that first trip. My disaster ordering poutine is one.
Long story short, we hit up a fast food joint. If you’ve been to Montreal, it was one of those places where the sign is just junk food: hot dogs, hamburgers, fries. We chose one of these fast food spots because we wanted to try poutine and were too young at the time to know that there were better restaurant options–and this was before Yelp. I tried to order using my rudimentary high school French language skills. Only after the money was out of my hand did I think the meal seemed really expensive.
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When our food was ready, I realized that I had paid for THREE plates of poutine when I tried to order just one! It was so embarrassing! After talking to the manager–and some eye rolling from the cashier who was adamant I said “trois”–I was able to return two orders of poutine and get some money back.
Anyway, Montreal was on my mind last week and I was wishing I could pop in the car and take a road trip. Instead, I used frozen tater tots to them to re-create this memory (well, without the language confusion!)
Our First Trip Together to Montreal
Tater Tot Poutine FAQs
How to Cook Frozen Tater Tots?
Let’s talk tots for a minute. Obviously, the best tots are fried, but it’s a lot easier to pop them in the oven. Here’s a trick: cook them a little hotter and a little longer than the package recommends. I like to heat my oven to 450F degrees and cook them for about 25 minutes at that temperature. You’ll end up with super crispy tots without a vat of oil.
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One last thing about this recipe: I know authentic poutine calls for cheese curds and this recipe uses crumbled mozzarella cheese. Cheese curds aren’t always easy to find. I wanted this recipe to be easily accessible to anyone and mozzarella cheese has a similar texture. If you can get your hands on curds, by all means, use them!
Can I Change Up the Gravy?
Sure! Poutine is super adaptable. Use what you like (even jarred if you want to simplify even more!) I like the mushroom gravy because the mushrooms add a lot of umami to the dish without being over-the-top. And, I just love mushrooms.
Watch: Tater Tot Poutine Plus Crispy Baked Tater Tots
Tater Tot Poutine
- 16 oz frozen tater tots
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 5 oz button or crimini mushrooms roughly chopped
- ½ cup onion diced small, ~¼ large onion
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- ½ tbsp Sherry vinegar could sub apple cider vinegar or balsamic
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 cup beef broth
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 4 oz block mozzarella cheese torn into curd-sized chunks; see note
- 1 scallion green tops, sliced
- Pre-heat the oven to 450F degrees. Spread tater tots on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Once the oven is heated up, bake for ~25 minutes until very gold brown and crispy.Flip once at around the 15-minute mark.
- While the tots are cooking, make your gravy. Place a high sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated up, add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms start to brown. This should take about 5-7 minutes. The mushrooms will release their liquid and that will evaporate. Once the mushrooms have cooked down and started to brown, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onion until it starts to get soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme. Cook for about a minute. Add the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes.Whisk in the Sherry vinegar, soy sauce, and beef broth. Whisk until the liquid is smooth and there are no lumps from the flour. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the gravy is thickened, stirring with a wooden spoon while simmering.Taste your gravy and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the tater tots are cooked, place them in a shallow bowl. Spoon the gravy on to the tots. Then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Garnish with scallion greens.
- Yes, cheese curds are classic but not always easy to find in American grocery stores. I chose to use mozzarella cheese here because it’s similar in texture. But, if you can find cheese curds, definitely sub them in.
Sean the Taster
Old pictures of me: terrifying.