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One Pot Tarragon ‘Meat-Free’ Chicken:
Quorn is a healthy substitute for meat. In addition to preprepared replacements for a whole range of dishes including sausages, chicken escalopes, steak pies, burgers and chilli, there are also packets of quorn ‘meat’ which you can use as a substitute for beef or chicken in a range of dishes. I’m quite a fan of quorn mince because it is naturally low in fat, low in calories and has none of the gristle you sometimes get in cheap mince and yet is very good value for money. But I haven’t used the chicken pieces so often, though like the beef substitute it is lower in fat and calories than the ‘real thing’. If you want to find out more do check out the quorn website where there is a great collection of recipes together with a lot of nutritional information
My first attempt at making tarragon chicken with quorn was perhaps not as successful as I’d hoped. I like using low fat creme fraiche rather than single cream when I make tarragon chicken. It’s my attempt at keeping the calories down. I didn’t ‘seal’ the quorn either, just popped it into the onion, garlic and wine mixture to simmer for 20 minutes. The result was a little too close to tarragon ‘cardboard’ for my liking, so I tried again, this time with the indulgence of some single cream. This time I ended up with a rich and creamy fragrant ‘chicken’ casserole. I suspect that, to create a reasonable dish, you need some ‘fat’. And if you’ve cut everything out from the ‘meat’, trying to substitute in a low-fat creamer isn’t going to work. But I’ll carry on experimenting, just in case it was the ‘sealing’ of the quorn which made the difference.
- 350 g Quorn 'meat free chicken' pieces
- 125 ml Dry white wine
- 15 ml Olive oil
- 1 handful Fresh tarragon
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Medium White onion or 3-4 banana shallots
- 150 ml Single Cream
- 1/2 Lemon
- 200 g New potatoes halved and par boiled
- Peel the onion and dice it finely and crush or finely dice the garlic.
- Warm the olive oil in a heavy based pan
- Gently sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes till soft and translucent
- Add the quorn pieces and stir through for a few minutes
- Add the white wine and new potatoes.Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Add more wine or water if the mixture looks as if it getting too dry.
- Remove the tarragon leaves from the stalk and chop roughly, keeping a few whole sprigs for garnish
- Take the pan off the heat and gradually add in the cream and tarragon.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon.
- Bring back to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes or so till the sauce is thick and creamy
- Check the seasoning. Garnish with the remaining sprigs of tarragon and serve with a simple green salad or vegetable.
Quorn has about half the calories of skinless chicken breast – at 89cal per 100g. And, while it is lower in protein, it’s still a good source at 14%. Very low in fat at just 2% and with a high fibre content, substituting quorn for meat allows me to be a little indulgent, using cream and olive oil to make a delicious supper.
It works best for me in a dish with strong flavours. I’m a big fan of quorn bolognese and chili sans carne. I’m planning on trying the chicken pieces in a tomato paprika sauce, a curry and a sweet and sour. The calories I save using quorn allow me to make a sauce without any compromises and still create a healthy, low calorie and low fat dish.
What do you cook with quorn?
Disclaimer: I received a fee and some product samples to develop this recipe for quorn.