It finally got cold here in Southern Iowa over the weekend, and as I walked home from the store Friday night the snow crunched under my feet and my breath turned to frost. I thought back to winters in Ottawa, skating on the Rideau Canal. The Canal freezes solid this time of year and becomes a rink nearly five miles long. Along the Canal are venders offering steaming cups of hot chocolate, Beaver Tail pastries and poutine.
That is how my mind jumped from a cold night in Iowa to poutine, which is fresh cut fries with cheese curds and gravy. After adding ketchup (and vinegar) you are supposed to eat this mess with a tiny chip fork.
Tonight, we had a veggie version of poutine. I made a mushroom gravy with a hint of tomato and onion. The Cadet tossed thick russet potato cuts (that I cut) in olive oil and we baked them in the oven. Having no fresh cheese curds, I finished off the plates with sharp cheddar. By the time we were done we had a gooey mess of fries, cheese, and gravy. The only thing missing was chip forks.
6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into thick fries
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, washed and finely chopped
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato powder*
cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 375F and toss the potato pieces in olive oil. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden. (Ours took 45 minutes because the fries were quite thick. We set the initial timer for 20 minutes and kept checking.)
Meanwhile, simmer the mushrooms and water. When they are half-way reduced, add the onion and tomato powders and salt. Continue to simmer until it is a thick gravy.
Once the fries are done, top them with cheese and the mushroom gravy. Garnish with more cheese. If your plates are oven-proof, a few minutes in the oven will melt the cheese.
* If you have no tomato powder, you could try tossing sun-dried tomatoes in with the mushrooms. A couple ounces of unsalted tomato sauce will do the trick but will take longer to reduce.
This recipe was shared at Meatless Mondays, Fat Tuesday , Real Food 101, Tutorial Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy2Day, Simple Lives Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays, Fight Back Fridays, the Ultimate Recipe Swap (potatoes) and the Ultimate Recipe Swap (dairy).