I have had several people over the years tell me that this column is promoting bad eating.
I mean, yeah, I agree at least somewhat. If you eat many of the recipes I write about every day of the week, you’re probably not making your doctor or your bathroom scale all that happy.
But I also think reading about decadent desserts or calorie-laden meals is kind of fun. There’s a reason the Food Network doesn’t have a full slate of salad shows in its line up.
It’s not that I’m against eating healthy. Actually, Joey and I try hard to eat well regularly. I have a big bunch of asparagus in my fridge right now, along with some other fresh greens, ready to be cooked for dinner this week.
But sometimes I like to try out the dark side of the cookbook, and if you didn’t see it coming, this week’s recipe is way, way on the caloric dark side.
This recipe, a twist on the classic Canadian dish of poutine, which features cheese curds, French fries and brown gravy, comes from the website “Recipe Champions” by Josh Elkin. If you haven’t ever heard of his website, check it out sometime. He has some truly crazy recipes on there. You can find the original post at https://recipechampions.com/recipe/poutine-tacos/. I took out some steps in my version. Also, I used yellow cheese curds, although the classic uses white. I’d recommend just using what is available in your local grocery store.
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 12 ounces frozen French fries
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons corn starch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cheese curds
- 6 strips bacon cooked and chopped
- Start by making the taco shells. Set out a taco holder or a cupcake pan, turned upside down. Heat a small skillet (about five inches wide) over medium heat. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese evenly into the bottom of the pan. Let it cook, undisturbed, for about three minutes. Then turn the heat to medium high, and when you notice the edges starting to turn brown, check to see if you can move the cheese, if it can move, it’s ready. Remove the circle of cheese from the heat.
- While the cheese is still hot, carefully place it in the taco holder to create a taco shape or place it in a taco shape between two of the cups on the cupcake tin.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the mozzarella.
- As the shells cool and harden, cook the French fries in your preferred method.
- Create a brown gravy by bringing the beef broth to a boil in a small saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the cornstarch with about 1/4 cup cold water. Once the broth is boiling, turn the heat to medium-low and whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire, dissolved corn starch mixture and salt and pepper. Let the gravy thicken, stirring regularly, and add more salt and pepper if desired.
- To assemble the tacos, start with a layer of fries in the mozzarella shell, top with cheese curds, and then add gravy and bacon pieces. Serve immediately.
These were ridiculous. They were delicious, with lots of great texture, but they felt ridiculous to eat because of how bad for us they were. It was kind of like when you get something fried and delicious at the state fair.
I can’t say that we’ll be making them again any time soon, but it was definitely worth eating once, feeling bad about it, and ticking this off the life experience list.
I’m sure I’ll wound the egos of some Canadians for putting out this non-traditional version, and I’m also certain I’ll have some health professionals wagging their finger at me, but this was so, so good, and it was fun to make, too.
And to all my naysayers, don’t worry. I promise my asparagus will be made with no frying or bacon involved. I’m just not making any commitments for next week’s column.
This piece first appeared in print on May 13, 2021.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.