Pricilla Philips and Julie Anne Rhodes

A completely unexpected, but highly appreciated perk of doing The Conscious Cook Challenge has been that both Gardein and Match alternative meat companies have sent me samples of their products to experiment with. I can barely contain my excitement as I have also been invited to a workshop with Tal Ronnen at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts this week. You can definitely expect some great dish on that experience along with some new Gardein recipes I have been trying out!

So for now, I want to focus on Match. I find the ground “meat” consistency of the product particularly easy to adapt to my existing recipes, and it can be molded into burgers, cutlets, roasts, or just about any form you like. I am having a blast in the kitchen, and my taste buds are doing a jig! So are my dog, Daisy’s….
Spicy “pork” burger with honey-mustard sauce and Brussels sprouts

My first attempt was to make my favorite spicy “pork” burgers with honey mustard sauce. After spending an hour preparing and recording the end result… I happily fixed my dinner tray, and found my favorite program on television to relax in front of. I had one scrumptious bite before the doorbell rang, and I excitedly shared the spare burger I made with guinea pig #1 who had stopped by to drop something off to me. She LOVED it, but when I returned to my own dinner a few minutes later my entire meal was GONE! Daisy sat there smacking her lips looking rather content with herself, then flashed the “I didn’t mean to do it” big brown eyes from under her ridiculously long lashes (she knows that look works every time). I can’t keep a straight face or stay mad for long, but I did stand there looking incredulously at her … how dare she be so bold as take food from a foodie! It is a bit like taking drugs from a junkie…. it could be dangerous! So, Match has now received guinea pig #1, and Daisy’s seal of approval in addition to mine.

Dinner thief Daisy

My second attempt I kept well away from Miss Daisy! I decided the Italian “turkey sausage” would be delish with Steamed Broccolini, & Penne. I like mine extra spicy, so I added extra red chile flakes, and garlic. Guinea pigs# 1, #2, and I could not shovel it into our mouths fast enough!

Jewels Vegan “Italian Turkey Sausage,” Broccolini, & Penne

Match is a new brand of premium meat alternatives made for the meat lover who wants to enjoy eating meat without the consequences of cholesterol, saturated fat, calories, hormones, and antibiotics. The company claims their product has the texture and flavor of animal meat, but made from plant rather than animal protein source. I think the texture is definitely similar, but flavor may be stretching it just a tad bit… until you add seasonings, sauces, or any flavorings of your choice… then it is absolutely delicious! I am curious as to what Michael Pollan might have to say about processing plants to mimic meat, but if this helps omnivores like me lighten my meat intake, and help the environment in the process? I am all for it.

So far Match is available in ground beef, chicken, pork, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, and crab variations. It comes frozen in 2 pound packs, 6 to a case, and can be ordered directly from their website at http://www.matchmeats.com/. Every bit as versatile as meat, the possibilities are endless. I came up with my vegan version of a comfort classic to share with you (if you are a die-hard carnivore just substitute the real ground meat you want, and adjust the timing accordingly- Match meat cooks in about 1/2 the time of real meat). It can be made a couple days in advance, and baked off on the day, or frozen until you need it at a later date. The perfect make ahead dinner for those busy week day nights now that the holidays are over, and back to work we go. Check out the video below, for visual instructions up close and personal.
Oh, and by the way… Jewels from The Roving Stove is now on Facebook! http://bit.ly/8BQwdE

Julie Anne & dinner thief Daisy

Jewel’s Vegan Cottage Pie


Servings: 4 (but recipe can easily be doubled if feeding a crowd)

Ingredients:
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 16 ounce package Match “beef”
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs amino acids
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance, divided
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 cup grated tofu cheddar cheese

Directions:

1). Boil potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and place back in pan with 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance while potatoes are still hot, so it melts into them. Begin mashing and slowly add soy milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2). Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, add and brown the Match “beef,” about 4-5 minutes. Keep in mind that Match is soft when cold, but firm when warm, (it is a low fat food, so it does require water or oil when cooking). It will cook in 1/2 the time of real beef, so be careful not to overcook it, or it will dry out. Remove from heat and set aside.

3). In another large skillet, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute. Add mushrooms and thyme, cooking until moisture is released and evaporated. Add the teaspoon of Braggs amino acids, stir well. Add tablespoon of Earth Balance, stirring until melted. Add tablespoon of flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly add vegetable broth while stirring constantly to prevent clumping, until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in nutritional yeast flakes, then Match “beef.”

4). Spoon “beef” mixture into casserole dish. Top with an even layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese and use a fork to make ridges in the potatoes for better browning. Place casserole on a baking pan for easier handling and to prevent it boiling over (making a mess in the oven).

5). Bake casserole for 15 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Place under broiler for 2 minutes to get topping nicely golden brown. Remove from oven, and serve hot.

Serving Suggestions: This is really a one dish meal, but great served with any steamed green vegetable, or serve with a green salad if you desire more.

Variations: The same recipe can be used for traditional cottage pie with ground beef or turkey (adjusting the browning time to 8 minutes, and the baking time to 25 minutes), or a shepherd’s pie made with ground lamb (again adjusting the cooking time accordingly). You can also add peas, corn, or any vegetable of your choice, and/or any fresh herbs you prefer.
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