Thursday, 25 July 2013

Flavour of France - Veggie French Tarragon Mock-Chicken Recipe

Prior to going abroad, one of the first things I do is research the culinary aspects of that city/country.  Whether that be reading up on local dishes or checking out the restaurant scene, I always like to know what I can expect, especially useful as a vegetarian!

I really do think that by doing as locals do, you get more out of your trip by acquainting yourself with local customs and potentially having the opportunity of experiencing something you have never tried before, something that you wouldn't be able to get in the UK or perhaps that wouldn't taste the same back home.  This not only broadens your taste buds but also enhances your holiday and on a wider scale, it helps local economy and trade.  Personally, when abroad, I like to leave all things Blighty behind and find myself a good tapas joint, bistro, taverna or if I'm further afield, a good beach shack noodle bar!

You may have read a post of mine recently about sampling vegetarian inspired French Food at a restaurant called Le Truc Cafe in Birmingham.  After my visit there, it got me thinking about traditional French food and the veggie versions I could make of them.

The opportunity arose when I was presented with a recipe from Superbreak for French Tarragon Chicken and I thought about how I could make a vegetarian version of it.  So tasking myself with this mission I began making a meat version for my husband and a veggie one for me to have with our traditional Sunday roast vegetables.  Plus it also gave me the chance to utilise the tarragon plant I have in my herb garden.


Tarragon from my Herb Garden



Instead of using chicken meat for myself, I used Quorn Chicken Style Fillets, ensuring that they were fully defrosted first.  Using separate pans and dividing the other ingredients between the two, I prepared the recipe as follows:
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Vegetarian - Quorn Chicken Style - French Tarragon Chicken


Meat Version - French Tarragon Chicken


French Style Tarragon Chicken/Quorn Chicken  
Serves 2

2 Chicken Meat Breasts (Skinless/Boneless) - 1 person portion
2 Quorn Chicken Style Fillets (Defrosted and scored with a knife) - 1 person portion
1 Large Onion (Diced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Chopped)
50ml Dry White Wine
200ml Vegetable Stock
1.5 tbsp Half-Fat Crème Fraîche
½ -¾ tsp Cornflower
1-1½ tsp Cold Water
1 tbsp Tarragon Leaves (chopped) or Dried Tarragon Flakes
Vegetable Oil for frying.


Method

1.    Pour and heat vegetable oil into two separate non-stick frying pans.
2.    Divide the diced onion between the two frying pans and fry gently until soft.
3.    Divide the chopped garlic between the two frying pans and fry with the onion for
       a couple of minutes.

4.    Add the chicken meat breasts to one frying pan and the Quorn Chicken Style fillets to
       the other frying pan and gently fry both until lightly coloured.

5.    Pour 25ml of white wine into each frying pan and bring to the boil.
6.    Once boiled, pour 100ml of vegetable stock into each frying pan and then return to a
       gentle simmer. 

7.    Whilst the chicken/Quorn is cooking, in a small bowl, mix the cornflour and cold water
       together into a semi-runny paste.  Leave to one side.

8.    Stir both pans occasionally for approximately 8-10 minutes or until there is just a tiny
       bit of liquid left in each pan.

9.    Divide the paste between the two frying pans and stir well.
10.  It will begin to thicken almost immediately, at this point divide the crème fraîche
       between the two frying pans and stir well.

11.  Divide the tarragon between the two frying pans and stir again.
12.  Cook gently until all the ingredients have cooked through in both pans.
13.  Serve each portion with new potatoes and/or roast vegetables as preferred.

NB:  To make this a full vegetarian dish, swap the chicken meat for 2 more Quorn Chicken Style fillets.  To make larger portions, increase the quantities of other ingredients and the number of Quorn fillets/chicken breasts used.

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Both versions were deliciously creamy with the flavour streaming from the garlic and tarragon in every bite.  The cream also works well with vegetables, providing an additional sauce to accompany them with.

By only using one extra pan, vegetarians and meat-eaters can both have an almost identical meal experience with very little additional effort.  This recipe makes for a great dinner party classic which works so well for a mixed dietary group of guests.

If dinner parties seems too close to home and you want to try this dish (or something else French and veggie) in more authentic French surroundings, why not see what offers there are on the Superbreak website for a long weekend in Paris? 

Once there, then find yourself a nice pavement cafe overlooking the Seine with a chilled glass of French wine to hand and peruse the menu en français ....

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Disclosure:  The above recipe was provided by Superbreak to promote their city breaks to Paris.  The recipe was amended to reflect preferences and to accommodate vegetarian ingredients.  I was re-imbursed by Superbreak to cover my expenses to create the meal.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review of the recipe.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 


2 comments:

  1. Do you have a recommendation for a vegan version of creme franchise for this recipe?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for your comment! I don't have a personal recommendation for a vegan alternative I'm afraid, but could a vegan cream work at all?

      I've not tried this myself, but it seems worth investigating: http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/2013/02/11/vegan-creme-fraiche/
      Or see commentary on this link:
      http://www.deliaonline.com/premium-content/special-diets/vegan-diets.html

      Hope this helps!
      Best wishes, Anna

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