Monday, May 26, 2008

Making Over Nostalgia

Growing up my favorite dinner was a saucy chicken bake served with rice. It was simply chicken pieces thrown in a casserole dish, covered with cream of mushroom soup and baked until the chicken was done. I almost always requested this dish when my mom would ask me what I wanted for dinner. It is one of my top 5 comfort foods of all time.

At first glance it would seem I would have to forgo this favorite of mine with my choice to eat vegan. Even before I swore off meat I had stopped using pretty much all canned soups. I realize I am horrifying all my non-existent Midwestern readers in saying this, but goopy, coagulated glue is not my idea of delicious. But one of my favorite things about being vegan is the challenge of making what I want to eat out of things I will eat. And so I give you:

Chicken-y Mushroom Casserole

I really like soy curls as they are a whole soy product with all the fiber and protein, and for this dish their texture worked perfectly for me, but you could use seitan if you wish (that would also make it soy-free if you have sensitivities). I added broccoli to get some more greens in us.

2 c soy curls
1 tbs chicken flavor bouillon (I like Better than Bouillon "No-Chicken Base" and they recommend 1 tsp/cup of liquid, so you can use that to convert to what ever you use)
1 c roughly chopped mushrooms, cremini or button
1/2 sm yellow onion, diced fine
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 c plain hemp milk
1tsp fresh thyme, minced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium head broccoli, cut into bite size floret and steamed just until bright green and slightly tender (it will continue to cook in the oven and I don't like smushy broccoli!)
2 tbs panko bread crumbs tossed with 1 tsp olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8 or 9 in pan (a pie plate will work if you don't have a small baker) with non-stick cooking spray.

Dissolve bouillon in water (in at least a 4 cup capacity bowl) and add soy curls. Mix to ensure they are all as submerged as possible and rehydrate 10 minutes. Remove curls from soaking liquid and set aside, reserve remaining liquid.

Spray a medium pan with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid and begin to brown. Lower heat to medium, add onions and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Pour in white wine and cook until almost evaporated. Sprinkle in flour and nutritional yeast, stir to coat entire pan and cook 30 seconds (this helps cook off the "raw" taste of the flour). Switch to a whisk and whisking constantly slowly pour in soaking liquid reserved from soy curls. Work it in until smooth, it will start to thicken immediately. Work in hemp milk the same way. Bring to a bubble and cook 30 seconds. It should be thick but pourable and easily coat the back of a spoon as shown. Remove from heat and stir in thyme and black pepper. Fold in soy curls and broccoli until evenly coated and pour into prepared dish. Top with panko crumbs, if using.

Place in oven and bake until bubbly and top is lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let reset 5-10 minutes to set up (roast your other veggie now!)

Serve with brown rice and another veggie - we enjoyed it with roasted asparagus. Yum!


Anonymous said...

Oh yum!! That casserole looks like the ultimate comfort food!!!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Hahaha you have the CUTEST blog title! I love it!

Your food don't look too shabby neither ;o)