It was my turn to choose Food Network Friday this time round. I spent what felt like forever trawling through the website looking for the perfect dish – but I had no idea what that dish would be. Spicy? Comforting? Asian? Salad? Creamy? In the end I just decided to pick the next thing I came across and stop fretting about it. And that was this casserole from Emeril. He doesn’t come on our version of Food Network (which only ever shows Ace of Cakes these days) so I’ve never seen him but I always like the look of his recipes.
I made a half portion. 4 of Tami’s baked chicken cutlets weighed exactly 1lb and stood in for the chicken. I marinated it in the liquid for a couple of hours and used my favourite Better Than Chicken bouillon for the chicken stock. Other than that the main change I made was to use Cheezly Pepperjack and soy free cheddar instead of the cheese (Full review of these Redwood products coming soon). I planned to make Emeril’s SouthWest Seasoning but when today dawned hot and sunny I decided to use the Emeril’s Essence I’d got in the cupboard from a previous FNF instead, so I could spend the time in the garden reading instead. Finally, I made a couple of small changes to the topping. We don’t get tinned green chillies here so I used some jarred jalapeno slices, and I had a handful of crushed tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag so rather than eat them for a hungover breakfast treat tomorrow I put them on the top of the casserole for a crispy topping before it went in the oven.
This was amazing. It was the ultimate comfort food – creamy, yet spicy and with a good texture too, crispy and soggy in a good way. The tortilla chips at the bottom almost formed a pastry bottom, which was an amazingly easy way to do it and I’d try that again. Personally I’d have used less onion but that could be because I cooked it for less time than the recipe suggested. I don’t think I could taste all the ingredients in the seitan marinade, which was used both in the mushrooms and the tortilla chips, but as Lloyd Grossman always used to say, you’d probably know if it WASN’T there.
I loved this rich, comforting dish and would definitely make it again. Don’t forget to go to Vegan Appetite to see how everyone else tackled this. I can’t wait to see!!!