Thermos 3-Tier Bento #27

Grapes, a biscuit (these are the sole vegan option from a can that I know of--Pillsbury Grands! Southern Homestyle Original--and which are not always easily found) and a veganized version of the recipe for Tofu à la King in American Wholefoods Cuisine. I debated waiting to give you the recipe until I could present it more attractively, but the truth is, this was so delicious I don't think it matters. You're getting the recipe. If I improve it (unthinkable right now but who knows, maybe I'll get ideas), I will just give you a new one. Just know that for the full effect you should split the biscuit in half and top it with the glorious tofu and veggie sauce, then garnish it with parsley for that 1950s touch.

This is, of course, a vegetarian take on the classic chicken à la king, which dates back to the 1880s but really became popularized in the mid-20th century. So it was retro even when the American Wholefoods Cuisine cookbook took it on in the 1980s. I'm sure they would frown on serving it with canned biscuits (they suggested I make theirs to go with it) but life is short and energy is limited here.

I don't think I ever had chicken à la king. It would not have been the type of thing served in my house, because my father would have hated it (there were few ways he would tolerate poultry, and in a cream sauce wouldn't have been one). But this did remind me of a meal my mother prepared often that she called "tuna surprise," which consisted of a sort of tuna-mushroom gravy over toast and/or mashed potatoes.

I made several changes to the recipe because it wasn't vegan and I also wanted to infuse just a bit more flavor. Here's my version.

Tofu à la King
Serves 4

1 14-oz. block of firm or extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1 cup of chicken-style veggie broth (I made mine with Better than Bouillon)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups diced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers or pimentos
3 tablespoons cooking sherry
dash hot pepper sauce
Parsley for garnish (optional)

Drain tofu and squeeze out the water gently while tearing into bite size pieces. Combine veggie broth and soy sauce to make a marinade. Marinate the tofu in it while cooking the sauce. (Frozen and thawed tofu practically drinks marinades, so it doesn't take long.)

Melt the vegan butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt to help the vegetables cook. Cook over medium heat until softened but not dry, 5-10 minutes. Stir in flour well.

Slowly add soy milk, mixing each addition in well before adding more milk. Continue to cook until thickened and bubbly, around 5 minutes.

Remove tofu from marinade. Add tofu, red peppers or pimentos, sherry, hot pepper sauce, and remaining salt to the sauce. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Ladle on top of split biscuits, toast, or mashed potatoes. Garnish with dried or chopped fresh parsley.

Comments

  1. This sounds like such a great wintery meal! I don’t recall my mom ever making chicken a la king, and I don’t recall having it before i went veg, but i do remember a baked dish she would make with a creamy mushroom sauce that i loved. The sauce was great on rice.
    Definitely going to try this! I love tofu, mushrooms and creamy sauces!
    Ttrockwood

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  2. This sounds amazing; thanks for sharing your recipe!

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