Have you ever tried to pack a funnel cake in your luggage? That may seem like the best way to bring home a tasty vacation food experience, but you’re going to set yourself up for a laundry disaster. So in this month’s Recipe ReDux, we took on the challenge of recreating the best eats from vacation with a healthier twist and without the use of a bucket of Oxyclean.
I decided to take on a beast of a food: the curious Quebecoise treat called poutine. It’s basically French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy, clocking in at easily 700+ calories a pop and nearly a full day’s allotment of fat, with barely enough fiber to keep a bug regular. Tim and I first encountered this French Canadian artery enemy on a Valentine’s trip over a decade ago, and again on our honeymoon, both in lovely Montreal. As the newly minted Mrs. Lynch, I ate some poutine in the Olympic stadium watching the second-to-last Expos game ever.
As the current-day Mrs Lynch, I’m more interested in sat fat than batting stats, so I made a few changes to the conventional poutine recipe. First: oven-baked fries, a no-brainer for this kind of recipe redo.
Then I cooked up a cheddar cheese sauce cut with a generous portion of butternut squash, which gives it a slightly chunky texture without the cheese-curd globs. No gravy in this, but since you’re getting saucy cheese, I figure that makes up the difference.
Ready for l’expérience grand fromage? Here you go:
6 servings, 185 calories each
4 medium red potatoes (approx. 1 ¼ lb of potatoes)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg white
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small (1”) cubes
¾ cup skim milk
½ broth (chicken or vegetable)
Ground black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
A pinch each of nutmeg and cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Wash and slice potatoes into fry-size sticks or small wedges, and put them in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix egg white with olive oil until frothy. Pour into the bowl with potatoes, and toss until potatoes are coated.
Mix together onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and salt. Add to the bowl and mix well until evenly coated.
Place potatoes in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 35-50 minutes (depending on how thick you cut your fries and how reliable your oven’s heat is).
Add the squash, milk and broth to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 20 minutes. When the squash is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat, add the pepper, nutmeg and cayenne, and mash until well mixed.
Return the saucepan to medium heat and mix in the cheeses. You should only need a minute or two to get the cheese melted and well distributed. Remove from heat.
Divide the oven fries into six portions, and top with approximately ½ cup of the squash cheese mix. Bon appétit!
If you’ve got enough vacation days left for another tasty jaunt, have a look at what my fellow ReDuxers cooked up: