Monday, December 07, 2009

Veggie 'Chicken' Adovada

Another New Mexico favorite, "Carne Adovada" gets remade today... woo!

First, a disclaimer: If you're a green-and-red-blooded native New Mexican food purist who cannot stand the idea of your region's precious and traditional recipe being vegan-ized, read no further... (and I do understand and apologise - sorta - heh).

However, if you're vegan, yet still want to enjoy the rich, colorful, spicy flavors of the Southwest - or you're just curious what the heck I'm yammering about, read on.

Carne Adovada is traditionally made from chunks of pork, marinated and cooked in a sauce of ground New Mexican red chiles and other flavors... it's either cooked in the oven or slow cooker until the flavors absorb and the pork literally falls apart and the sauce is very thick.

Well, since my wonderfully generous friend, Shaun, sent me home from my last Southwest visit with every imaginable New Mexican goody, I've been cooking up a storm of yummy, spicy, mouth (and eye)-watering VEGAN hotness.

Yep, that's me. Vegan hotness.
But I digress.

One of the items I was curious about and wanted to experiment with, was this envelope of "Carne Adovada Seasoning".

I'd heard so many people sing the praises of this dish, but naturally, I just had to try my own version, regardless if it was "authentic" or not. Obviously I'm not using pork here, (yes, yes, spare me and the pigs the need for "authenticity"!) because upon finding a package of Gardein Santa Fe "chicken" product in my freezer, I decided to go with that. I love these new Gardein products, but I admit I'm not totally thrilled with the sauce on the "Santa Fe Chicken" so adding it to adovada sauce and cooking it forever seemed a perfect use.

Yes, I did fret a bit, thinking the dry spice mix was a commercial short-cut "tourist" version of the seasonings, but not so much once I saw (Food Network) Bobby Flay do an episode on meaty-type carne adovada. He simply said make a sauce with ground red chiles, lots of garlic and oregano, add red wine and "season it to your tastes". Well, since I haven't a clue what this stuff is "supposed" to taste like, my seasoning came in handy for proportions: ground red chiles, garlic and oregano. I was inspired...

For those who feel obligated to point out discrepancies in my methods, ingredients or results, yes, I know, I KNOW it's "not even close" to real dead-animal Carne Adovada, so, call it 'Red Chile Veggie-Meat' or something less offensive to you. I just have so many Southwestern Foodie friends I'm worried about the authenticity police here... At any rate, I had fun experimenting and the end result, whatever you choose to call it, is amazing and delicious.

Veggie "Chicken" Adovada

1 2 oz. package dry Carne Adovada spice mix
OR make your own:
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. ground coriander seed
2 t. dried Mexican oregano
4 cloves pressed garlic
2 t. cayenne
3/4 c. ground red chile, mild or medium

1 cup water
2 cups red wine (or broth which will be boring but good too...)
1 package Gardein Santa Fe Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
2 Tb. oil

1.) Mix spices with liquid in non-reactive glass baking pan
2.) Put "chicken" into sauce and carefully stir.
3.) Marinate in fridge a couple hours. If it absorbs all the liquid, add more water. It shouldn't be "watery" though.
5.) Heat oven to 300°. Put gardein "chicken" and sauce into glass baking dish. Drizzle with oil and stir again.
6.) Bake until sauce is sticky and mostly evaporated or absorbed, stirring carefully every 1/2 hour or as needed to prevent it from totally sticking - It'll take at least an hour, probably longer; time will vary according to amount of liquid.

If you stir the "chicken" too hard, it'll crumble into mush, though some breakage is good. I use a wide, flat spatula and sorta lift it and move it around...

Serve with tortillas (or, sacrilege - my kids like it over rice!). Good stuff! Leftovers reheat wonderfully and make an awesome burrito filling!!


T said...

Wow, that looks fantastic! I don't think its sacrilege, now everyone can enjoy!

The Voracious Vegan said...

I can't wait to move back to the states so I can get my hands on that delicious gardein chicken, it looks awesome and what a time saver over making my own seitan.

Your dish looks enchanting! I can almost imagine how delicious it must be, thank you for another great recipe.

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Vegan Hotness!!! That looks so thick and rich and delish. Do you think I could cook it in a slow cooker?

Toni said...

That looks wonderful! I'm going to have to give that a go with tofu soon.

Ricki said...

You must have influenced me via the Internet waves, as I decided to veganize a Mexican dish this week, too! I love spicy foods and this looks spectacular. I wonder if I could just use tempeh or tofu chunks instead of the faux chicken. Do you think the flavor would be ruined?

Sarah said...

I'm just finding your blog. Yay for vegan mommies!!!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

I hope all of you with questions check back... YES YES YES! Adovada sauce works WONDERFULLY with tempeh, I've actually made it with tempeh several times and the earthy flavors of the red chile and the mushroomy-ness of the tempeh are a PERFECT match!!

Tofu isn't my fave this way, don't know why, but it just seems... bland? (Which is odd because it's definitely NOT a bland sauce!)

I've done the faux chicken in the slow-cooker too, it's fantastic, tempeh seems to get a bit mushy, but that's just a personal preference...

k's mumbo jumbo said...

That looks warm and wonderful.

rosebud said...

one classic way to eat carne adovada is in a burrito with pan fried potatoes and cheese. then i like to smother it in green chile sauce ("christmas") and more cheese, and bake. i hear they've come a long way with vegan cheeses, so it's worth a try!