This is my second successful venture into Quorn territory (this was the first), this time using their chicken fillets – the plain, uncoated ones, pretty obviously. I’m not sure how Quorn get away with labelling these as Chicken Fillets, despite the qualifier “Meat Free,” as chicken they most certainly are not. Ah well – not my problem.
As you’ll see, it’s pretty veg-heavy, so you won’t need much with it except maybe a few spuds or some mash, to soak up the sauce. As a break from my usual style, I’ve put directions, where needed, against each ingredient, rather than in the method – I think it might be easier for novice cooks that way. Do let me know what you think.
Makes 3 litres, as ever – this is it, finished.
8 Quorn Chicken Fillets, defrosted if possible, browned in a little oil and each cut into 5 pieces. Because of the shape, it’s hard to get equal-sized pieces, so don’t get too obsessed with it
4 – 6 Echalion shallots, depending on size, quartered lengthways and thickly sliced
3 – 4 Cooking onions, ditto, coarsely chopped
3 fat-ish, but medium-length carrots, quartered lengthways and cut into (roughly), 1cm chunks
200g pack of Pak Choi, separate the layers and wash well – they can be gritty (mine needed scrubbing with a vegetable brush!) – then cut the whites into chunks, coarsely shred the leaves
Rosemary – the leaves from one or two sprigs, depending on how big and how bushy they are, finely chopped; if you don’t like rosemary, leave it out and toss in a good handful of chopped parsley at the end
3 Kallo organic vegetable cubes
1 scant teaspoon garlic granules (more if you like garlic)
¾ teaspoon celery salt
2 Romano or Ramiro pointed red peppers (depending on where you buy them – they’re the same thing), de-seeded and cut into postage-stamp-sized pieces
400g Frozen peas
400g baby courgettes, wiped clean, topped and tailed, and cut into bite-sized pieces (don’t peel), and cooked over a brisk heat in butter (I used another 50g of clarified), and/or olive oil until soft and browned. Set aside.** This, by the way, is how I mostly cook courgettes, as they don’t fall to pieces, and baby ones seem to have a better flavour. Test for doneness with the point of a small knife.
**Retain the remaining butter or butter/oil when the courgettes are done, and add to the pot at the end – it’s flavoured intensely with fried courgette and it’d be a pity to waste it.
50g clarified butter (if using ordinary butter, add a splash of olive oil to help stop it burning)
Maldon Sea Salt and Schwartz fine black pepper (or, if you want more celery flavour, adjust the seasoning with celery salt for a change – just remember, if you change your mind you can’t take it out again)
If you feel it needs a tad more flavour, add a little Marigold Bouillon powder.
The same as always, to be honest, but for newbies, this is it.
Sweat off the onions and/or shallots in the clarified butter, or butter and oil, until soft but not coloured, then add everything down to and including the celery salt. Add enough boiling water to cover, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the carrots are getting soft.
While you’re waiting:-
Prep and cook the courgettes, remove from the pan and set aside (you might have to do them in two batches, depending on the size of the pan), and also fry off the Quorn fillets. Set those aside too.
Also prep the peppers and Pak Choi. Don’t worry, you’ll have time.
When the carrots are almost soft, add the peas, peppers, and Pak Choi. It looks like a lot of Pak Choi, but like most greens, it’ll wilt. Stir, return to the boil, reduce to just a gentle boil to cook the peas (they take forever if you simmer them), for about 15 minutes.
Add the cut-up fillets and allow to heat through, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Check the seasoning when it’s cooled to a safe level, and adjust if needed, then allow to cool fully.
When cold, consign it to the fridge until the following day, to give all those ingredients the chance to snuggle up and swap flavours with each other in the dark. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait – it always is.
Now, then, a tricky one – the Spoonie rating. Fact is, I was in a lot of pain before I started this, and I’m in a hell of a lot more now, despite maxing out my morphine. Exhausted too – it really has done for me, big-time. I’m beside myself – I simply cannot deal with this shit, it’s destroying me.
I’m sorry, I’ve got a job to do here, but it’s cost me more than I’m able to pay, and I’m afraid, based on how badly it’s affected me – there’s just too much prep – it’s getting 5 spoons.
Using pre-prepped veg – onions, carrots, peppers, baby spinach instead of Pak Choi, button Brussels sprouts instead of courgettes – will bring it down to 3 spoons. The fillets could be left whole, too – they’d probably break anyway, but what the hell, it’ll save some work.