a year in food and life

Stir-fried Quorn (or chicken) with spinach April 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — superspark @ 6:07 am

I have a new easy weeknight dinner obsession and would you believe it’s a fungus? I stumbled across Quorn tenders a couple of weeks ago at our local campus convenience store and figuring they were free to us (as RAs, the school gives us a declining balance to either use or lose), I picked up a bag. Quorn is essentially a soy-free meat substitute made from mycoprotein and most closely resembles chicken. It comes in a variety of forms in the freezer case, from patties to the “tenders” that I picked up, essentially little nuggets ready to throw into a stir-fry. I can imagine that most of you out there, aside from perhaps the vegans, are a little dubious if not downright repelled, and I’ll admit I was, too. As someone who is mostly vegetarian (just a little chicken and seafood in my diet), I tend not to want my food to resemble fake meat, but rather have it be proudly and obviously fresh veggies and grains. That said, I can appreciate the fact that sometimes you want something a little heartier and a girl cannot live on tofu alone. I’ve been warming up to tempeh recently and am trying to keep open minded about other meat substitutes.

Quorn is one that I actually tend to think meat eaters will like. It’s definitely meatier in texture than tofu and while it’s not quite chicken (lacking the stringy fibrousness), your guests might not even notice. Being a pseudo-vegetarian, I’m perfectly happy to eat chicken, but I’ll admit that I’m not crazy about the whole process of trimming and cutting raw chicken and I always have a mild fear that I’ll stumble across a gristly, mystery bit while chewing. Not so with Quorn, which requires nothing more than opening the bag and pouring the still frozen tenders into a hot frying pan.

But lest I sound like I’ve become an undercover Quorn spokeswoman, rather than simply a blogger writing about cooking, on to the recipe.  For my first Quorn dish, I simply used Mark Bittman’s stir-fried chicken with spinach recipe in How to Cook Everything.  Simple, tasty, I can’t complain, beyond saying that this was a stir-fry on the drier side. If you’re putting it atop rice, you might want to add more liquid to the sauce. But all in all, the dinner was quick and easy and was a good first way to try Quorn. That said, it’s made for chicken, so by all means go ahead and make it that way if you’re dubious of these new-fangled fungus-based foods.  We’ll certainly be making more Quorn/chicken stir-fries in the near future, so if you’re intrigued, keep your eyes open.

Stir-fried quorn (or chicken) with spinach (serves 4, with rice)


2 tbsp peanut or other oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 cup sliced onion
1 package (12 oz) Quorn Chik’n Tenders (or 12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, rinsed and patted dry, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped scallion (white and green parts), plus minced scallion greens for garnish
2 cups chopped spinach, trimmed, washed, and well dried
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil

1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add the onion. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the onion.

2. Stir over high heat, add the remaining oil to the pan, then the remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add the Quorn (straight from the freezer) or chicken, stir again, then let it sit for 1 minute before stirring again. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Quorn has warmed up or the chicken has lost its pinkness (3-5 minutes for the chicken, longer for the Quorn). Turn down the heat to medium.

3. Add the 1/4 cup of chopped scallion and the spinach to the pan and toss. Return the onion ot hte pan and add sugar, if desired, and the soy sauce and toss again. When the spinach wilts, season with salt and pepper. If using, combine the cornstarch with the stock or water and add to the pan. Otherwise, just add the liquid. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced slightly and you’ve scraped up all the bits of chicken or Quorn. If you’ve used cornstarch, the sauce will have thickened.

4. Garnish with the sesame seeds and minced scallion greens and drizzle with the sesame oil.


5 Responses to “Stir-fried Quorn (or chicken) with spinach”

  1. I haven’t see quorn, but I make a similar dish with tempeh, which I also love. Thanks for another healthful, delicious meal, Emily. And if you feel like playing along, I’ve tagged you over at my blog.

  2. Kimber Says:

    I found your blog while searching for recipes using Quorn
    My boyfriend and I are vegetarian and found them about 3 years ago at a Whole Foods market in Pasadena, CA
    We are hooked on Quorn prodcuts.
    And you are right, most meat eaters don’t know the difference.
    We had my mom over for thanksgiving and served the Quorn turkey roast. She was against trying it. But the sneek I am, I slipped some onto her plate when serving it for her, and she didn’t know until after when I told her.
    I just wanted to leave my comment. Have a great day!

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    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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