A much better-for-the-body version of the classic, this poutine riff uses cauliflower instead of fries and a kabocha squash gravy. It's plant-filled, can be vegan with one minor modification, and is just as satisfying as the original.
- Small kabocha squash
- Oil of choice for roasting and sauteeing
- Medium sweet onion
- 2 c veggie stock
- Generous salt and black pepper throughout
- Large head of cauliflower
- Few big handfuls of cheese curds
- Couple sprigs of thyme
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Cut the kabocha squash around its equator and scoop out the seeds.
- Roast the squash halves cut-side down on an oiled sheet tray for 30-45 minutes until very soft. They can vary greatly in size, which will determine how long they take to roast.
- When the squash is finished, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool at least partially for easier handling.
- Cut your cauliflower into florets. For the bigger florets, cut them in halves or thirds for even cooking.
- Lay the cauliflower florets on an oiled sheet tray in a single layer; they won't brown if they're overlapping. Salt generously.
- Roast for about 30-45 minutes until tender and browned.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, dice the onion. Then caramelize it in a soup pot with a dash of oil and liberal salt and pepper.
- When the onion is done, add ~2 c of veggie stock and start bringing it to a boil. Add additional salt and pepper.
- Scoop out the inside flesh of the squash and add it to the soup pot. Note that you can eat the skin of a kabocha, and it's actually delicious, so please save it! My suggestion is to treat it like potato skins and load them with all your favorite toppings.
- Once everything has come to a boil, turn the heat off and blend it all with an immersion blender until a very thick, creamy gravy develops. A standard blender is fine here too, but you'll need to work in batches.
- Assess the consistency of your gravy. If you want it to be a little looser, add more liquid until you get to your desired consistency. Add additional salt and pepper as you see fit.
- Simmer the gravy for another 10-15 minutes after blending, or until the cauliflower is done.
- Once the cauliflower is done, lay it out on a serving platter or in a smaller sheet tray with a rim. Smother it with a few ladles of gravy. Top it with cheese curds and some freshly-ground black pepper, then garnish with a few leaves of fresh thyme.
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