A few adjustments in recipe lowers fat in scalloped potatoes

March 01, 1995|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,Orlando Sentinel

Too much cream, butter, cheese and almonds can transform a simple potato dish into a nutritional nightmare, as a reader discovered.

"What could I substitute in place of the 2 cups of heavy cream?" asked Helen Miller about the recipe for Potatoes Poupon, a creamy, cheesy variation on scalloped potatoes. The recipe, developed by the makers of Grey Poupon mustard, has 604 calories and more than 46 grams of fat in each serving. A revised version for Light Potatoes Poupon contains only 300 calories and 7.6 grams of fat per serving.

In reducing fat, the cream was the most logical ingredient to eliminate. It provides the majority of calories and fat, and made the original dish as thick and rich as pudding.

Evaporated skim milk made a reasonable substitute. It has a thick texture and a more "creamy" flavor than ordinary skim milk because it contains less water. A 12-ounce can of evaporated skim milk contains less than 1 gram of fat compared to a cup of cream which contains 88.1 grams of fat. A tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with white wine or sherry helps prevent the milk from separating during cooking.

The new recipe also whittled down the calories from butter. Light Potatoes Poupon uses a smaller amount of olive oil instead of butter, reducing both calories and saturated fat. There also are more potatoes used in the revised recipe, which creates more servings and a higher proportion of healthful carbohydrates.

The new recipe eliminates the superfluous garnish of almonds. The nuts on top added 250 calories and 21 grams of fat. Chopped parsley adds flavor and an attractive green color but almost no calories or fat.

The amounts of cheese and mustard remain the same in the revised recipe. These ingredients provide the richness and flavor in the dish.

Potatoes Poupon

Serves 6

1/3 cup shallots, minced

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves

8 medium potatoes, sliced (6 cups)

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook shallots in 1 tablespoon butter or margarine until tender. Stir in cream, mustard and remaining butter or margarine; simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add 1/2 cup shredded cheese and basil, stirring until cheese melts.

In a greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish, alternately layer potatoes and cream sauce; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with almonds before serving.

Approximate cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.

Each serving has about 604 calories; 46.7 g fat; 36.4 g carbohydrates; 129 mg cholesterol, 129 milligramsl 763 mg sodium,

Light Potatoes Poupon

Serves 8

Nonstick cooking spray

9 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 8 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup shallots or yellow onions, minced

1/2 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated skim milk

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine or dry sherry

3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Soak the potatoes in cold water while making the sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook shallots in the olive JTC oil until tender. Stir in the evaporated skim milk and mustard; simmer for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add 1/2 cup shredded cheese, basil and cornstarch mixture, stirring until cheese melts and sauce thickens slightly. Do not boil.

Layer the potatoes and cream sauce in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender, the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling. Allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Approximate cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.

Each serving contains about 300 calories; 7.6 g fat; 43 g carbohydrates; 19 mgcholesterol; 616 mg sodium.

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