Friday, January 20, 2012
Food Network Friday: Bayou Chicken Pasta by Emeril
This is one delicious Food Network Friday! This time we are making Emeril Lagasse's Bayou Chicken Pasta. It is a spicy one though (you've been warned) and I even cut the heat down considerably by cutting the habanero out completely! I like a little spice in my food but I will admit to being totally intimidated by habanero peppers. Between what I've heard about them being like the hottest peppers on Earth and a bag of Death Rain potato chips a few years back, I am straight up terrified of these seemingly harmless little guys. I did however really enjoy Emeril's Essence (still questioning the name of it though as it conjured up some less than PG jokes from Ryan and myself that night) and it really did give this recipe a hit of "BAM!" like he's always promising.
I didn't write down a recipe since I didn't really change much of what was actually written but I will go through my substitutions to show you how easy it is to take a dish that looks so unvegan and make it deliciously vegan! Emeril goes for chicken but I say "BAM!" and change it out for chickeny seitan cutlets. I used a tester recipe from Tamasin so I can't share it but you could use any seitan or sauteed mushrooms would be excellent or even pressed tofu like Liz did over at Cooking the Vegan Books. He also uses a bit of butter in the recipe, you could use EB or something like that but I just went with a little more olive oil. Next up was the heavy cream which led me to the cupboard for some cashews. Cashew cream is one of my favourite vegan tricks to make a dish really creamy and one of the many reasons I love my Vitamix. I used to let my old blender run for 10 minutes and still didn't get the creamy smoothness that the Vitamix does. I used 3/4 cup of cashews with 1/2 cup of soy milk and 1/4 cup of water to make my heavy cream so take that Emeril...BAM! Last substitution needed was the Parmesan which I quickly swapped out for some nutritional yeast and this time I really did say BAM! as I sprinkled it on top of the final dish. I had to say it once at least while making this or it would feel right!
Some other subs I made that were just for personal preference or lack of stock in the fridge (I'm talking to you green onions) were: took out the habanero completely (like I mentioned), didn't add the extra 1 1/2 tsp of salt (it was already salty enough for me), I used leftover spaghetti instead of linguine which made my cooking time a little less and used up my leftovers (I added 1/2 cup of veg broth to my diced tomatoes instead of just plain water and heated the pasta in the sauce as it simmered) and left out the green onions but think they would really work with it. I also added in some sundried tomatoes (six halves of the non-oil packed kind to be more specific) when I added the cream to up the tomato flavour and I think it really added a little something....maybe a little BAM! I also added some peas to it after I took the picture because there is something about peas and pasta with me. It would also taste excellent served with some steamed broccoli.
Ryan really enjoyed this one (read went back for seconds and had it for lunch the next day) as did I. My mom gave it a try (sans chickeny seitan) and while it was a bit hot for her tastes she did eat it all. We will definitely be having it again maybe even more toned down. It would be good even without the chicken as well. Another idea popped into my head while I was cooking this as well...."Damn, this would have been a great pizza!" so I'm sure that will happen sometime soon too! Everything tastes better on pizza crust, doesn't it?
Don't forget to check out what everyone else did for this Food Network Friday recipe over on Tami's blog! And why not cook-a-long with us for the next one?