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Soy Curls and Thanksgiving – a Perfect Pairing

Chicken, Schmicken

Let Us Give Thanks

RainyDayKitchen has more or less gone vegetarian because of personal ethics, a generally healthier diet, and the better global sustainability of non-meat eating.

While we still hold our annual FirstGrills and Sausage Fests, the Thanksgiving feast has been non-traditional and turkey-free for the past two years.

RainyDay’s Thanksgiving is non-traditional both in the food and company for three reasons:

  • Traveling on Thanksgiving puts us in a less than thankful mood, and so we do not attempt family-based traveling during the holiday (we travel when nobody else is, like the following weekend);
  • We host our Thanksgiving gathering for anyone who is also staying local; and
  • The feast is meat-free.

We call all of the above our Straggler’s Thanksgiving Feast.

This year, the menu consisted of the following:

After looking over the menu, we decided to add a final entree: a “chick’n” and broccoli casserole made using Butler Soy Curls instead of chicken.

Giving thanks for all this yummy goodness

Welcome to the (slowly gaining momentum) Revolution

Soy Curls from Butler Foods is an all-natural alternative to meat that is heart-healthy and easy to use. We got hip to the stuff when one of our vegan readers told us to check it out.

We wanted something with a bit more texture (and way less artifice) as a substitute for the chicken, and were blown away by Soy Curls’ taste, mouth feel, and versatility.

Soy Curls are not a processed product, the way TVP is. TVP stirs up a bit of controversy because of the hexane used in its somewhat complex manufacture and the MSG used in its finished products, but Soy Curls are just soy beans that are soaked, cooked, then dried.

Also, we love the fact that Butler Foods’ Soy Curls are made by—wait for it—the Butlers. Seriously. Doing good while tasting good: talk about multi-tasking!

Soy Curls are easy to prepare: soak, season, brown. That’s it. It takes about 15 minutes and, because soy has no real flavor of its own, you can make it taste like anything you want. For any recipe that calls for chicken strips or cubes, Soy Curls with Butler Foods’ Chik-Style Seasoning makes a great alternative.

The Eatin’s Good

For the Straggler’s Feast, we took a generic chicken and broccoli casserole recipe and made a few adjustments:

  • 4 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 cups of reconstituted Butler Soy Curls
  • 2 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 can of Campbell’s condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 8 mushroom caps – sliced
  • 1/3 cup of soy milk
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise

We reconstituted the Soy Curls according to the directions. While waiting for the Soy Curls to soak up the water, we cut up the broccoli and spread them out on a pyrex baking dish.

Once the Soy Curls were ready, we diced them up, flavored the cubes with the suggested amount (2.5 tbs) of Chik-Style Seasoning, and browned them in a skillet (about 5 minutes).

Zwilling’s nonstick ceramic pan was perfect for the task.

Once browned, the cubes were evenly distributed amongst the broccoli.

We added some sliced mushroom for flavor and texture, but this is strictly optional (and we had some).

In a bowl, we mixed the condensed Cream of Mushroom soup, the soy milk, and the mayonnaise until smooth.  Two things to note:

  • Cream of Broccoli and other similar condensed soups would also work as the liquid base.
  • We ran out of time to look for a healthier version of the can of soup we already had.

We poured the sauce over everything, topped it all off with the grated cheese, and baked it in the convection oven for 25 minutes at 400°.

We cooked the dish without covering it with aluminum foil. Those who would like a bit more saucy-ness to their dish should cover it for the first twenty minutes, and then remove the foil to let the cheese brown for the last five. Since there is no raw meat in this dish, the cooking time may be adjusted for degree of “browness” without any worries.

Yup, yup, and yup

We have substituted Butler’s Soy Curls for chicken in many different recipes (including a stroganoff) and have found it to ben an amazing replacement.

Readers who want a meat-substitue with the same health benefits as tofu, but with more convenience (dry storage) and better mouth-feel (denser texture) should definitely check out Butler’s amazing Soy Curls.

We are completely sold on it and suspect that the same will be true of anyone who gives it a try. Let us know of your experience and how you used it. We are always looking to expand our recipe collection 🙂

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