Kale and Butternut Poutine

I’ve really gotten into Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern lately.  There is something mesmerizing about watching other people eat truly disgusting things.  I also find the show informative about different cultures around the world.  There is truth in saying that the best way to learn about a culture is through their food.  I certainly believe that food is the best way to bring people together, as well as a reflection of who we are as a society.  But that’s getting deep.  Did I mention that its crazy entertaining to watch Andrew Zimmer eat hardened termite vomit?

Ok, so there is some food on the show that is not 100% repulsive.  In fact, I have been inspired to make a few dishes based off of what he was eating.  It’s impossible not to be inspired by new flavor combinations from around the world!

Today I’m sharing my twist on the classic Canadian dish Poutine.  Traditionally Poutine is made with french fries, gravy, and cheese curd. Naturally my version is not.  I love the idea of Poutine; it’s a comforting, hearty, rich dish.  Keeping that idea in mind, set out to make my version less heavy, dense, and fatting, and more light, clean, and nutritious.

This dish tastes as good as it looks.  I went for simplicity when creating this recipe, allowing each ingredient to shine.  Butternut squash replaces the french fries, sheep’s milk feta replaces the cheese curd, and I used raw kale and toasted walnuts instead of gravy to pull everything together.  I’m thinking this butternut cheese sauce would be marvelous drizzled on top, and a excellent vegan option if you don’t use feta.  Surprisingly this dish is very filling as I have eaten it for lunch for a few days now and have not needed a mid-afternoon snack!  The squash I have been picking up from my local farmer’s market are HUGE, giving me about four meals out of each one (more like two Margaret-sized meals, and four normal portion meals 🙂

This would make a excellent addition to your thanksgiving table, or simply a fun way to enjoy good food with friends.  I’m whipping up a batch for the football game tonight as a Canadian replacement to nachos.  Who said tasty football food has to be unhealthy?

Oh – and if you’ve never seen Bizzare Foods, check it out.  The first season is on netflix, and it’s new on the travel channel every Monday night.  I guarantee you won’t be bored!

Kale and Butternut Poutine

for the butternut squash:
1 large butternut squash (about 4 lbs) peeled and diced
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

to assemble:
roasted butternut squash
1/2 bunch dino kale, deveined and chopped
8-10 oz sheep’s milk feta cheese*
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

*for vegan version, leave out the feta cheese and top with this butternut cheese sauce instead

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the prepared squash with the oil, nutmeg, garlic powder, fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the squash is tender and crispy around the edges.

To assemble the poutine, gently toss the butternut squash with the chopped kale.  Crumble the cheese on top (or pour the sauce on top) and microwave or put in the oven until the cheese is melty and bubbling.  Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Dig in!

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