Vegan Chicken in Wine Sauce (or, How I Managed to Steal My Mother’s Recipe)

When we were kids, my mom would let my brother, sister, and me choose whatever we wanted to eat for dinner for our birthdays.   However outlandish, it was our day, and we got to choose whatever we wanted.  For several years, my choice was Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburgers.  Not one of them.  Not two, either.  As many as I could eat.  I remember my dad actually CALLING IN orders to Burger King because we were coming to pick up as many as thirty cheeseburgers and tons of fries!

Eventually, as with many other things in my life, I took after my older brother and starting requesting our favorite childhood dish, Chicken in Wine Sauce.  It really became a comfort food for me and the taste was so distinct, it always reminded me of home, my parents, and my birthday dinners.

It’s not a very difficult recipe if you’re not a vegetarian.  It’s actually shockingly simple thanks to the good folks at Campbell’s Foods.  But, as a non-meat eater, It’s been a decade and a half quest to replace the succulence and sheer, simple deliciousness of that dish.  Tonight, I attempted once again.

The chicken is the first obstacle, and the sauce is the second.  I was so satisfied with the new faux-chicken, vegan, seven grain crispy tenders I reviewed here, that it was enough to take a go at re-creating the second obstacle– the sauce.  The problem with Campbell’s is that the original recipe calls for Golden Mushroom soup.  First ingredient–Beef Stock.  Unnecessarily, it also contains beef lard, albeit in a such a small amount, it begs the question, “why use it at all?”

Conveniently, Golden Mushroom soup lists its ingredients right on the label thanks to the FDA.  It’s little more than water, salt, MSG, mushrooms and a bit of wine.  So, that’s how I made it, pretty much.

1 Package of Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Strips

1 Large Onion

1  10 oz pack of Baby Bella Mushrooms (you can use any mushrooms, but these are particularly tender and succulent.)

24 oz white wine

8 oz vegetable stock (I use vegetable bouillon cubes.  directions say one cube for each 8 oz, but I use 2 in this recipe.That seems like double the amount, but the total liquid volume is 32 oz, or four cups, so it’s actually HALF the bouillon they recommend on the box which means half the sodium.)

Some salt and Pepper and a bit of dried Basil

1-2 Tbsp Vegan Butter Substitute

1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast

Bake chicken strips @ 425 for ~30 minutes on a Pam'd sheet. Flip half waythrough cooking.

Peel and dice the onion into tiny pieces...

We like to use our Genius Chopper, but any kind will do, even a good old knife.

At the same time, boil two bouillon cubes with 8 oz of water (or 8 oz of vegetable stock and no cubes)

Fry the onion on high heat in the butter...stir occasionally...add some salt, pepper and dried basil...

While the stock is boiling and the onions are caramelizing, slice the mushrooms. Sometimes I remove the stems, but keep 'em on in this recipe. Cut off any hard tips, though, and wash thoroughly.

Add 24 oz of the white wine to the stock and bring to a slow simmer...

when you buy the big bottle, there's enough left over for yourselves!

Don't forget to flip that faux chicken when the bottoms are browned.

when the onions look like this...

...do this.

cook until the mushrooms are soft on the outside but uncooked on the inside. This is an art. Mushy mushrooms are overcooked, and raw ones aren't what you're going for either. 2-4 minutes is about right. Be gently when stirring so you don't break the mushrooms.

Fully cooked chicken goes into a casserole dish. You can layer them if you need to, but I suggest one layer, like this.

when the mushrooms are softened, dump the stock into the onion, mushroom, spice mixture and simmer for about a minute or two to mix the flavors...

then add the half cup nutritional yeast, a quarter cup at a time, to thicken the final Golden Mushroom rip-off recipe.

Now, pour the soup over the chicken in the casserole dish, cover, and bake on 350 for about an hour or an hour and a half, until the soup is more like a sauce than a liquid.  While that’s happening, cook yourself some long grain rice.  We mixed it with some basmatti rice and seasoning packet,  and Monika sliced some broccoli and carrots to steam in our rice cooker.

This vegan chicken in wine sauce recipe was so damn delicious, that as I was loading the licked-clean dishes from our dinner into the dishwasher, I turned around and Monika had fallen asleep!  I packed the leftovers into lunch sized containers and brought two over to Kreg and Kat for them to try the next day.  They both loved it as well.  When I cook something so delicious, there’s nothing I like more that to share it with friends.

2 Responses to “Vegan Chicken in Wine Sauce (or, How I Managed to Steal My Mother’s Recipe)”

  1. sounds really good Ryan, good for you…..

  2. […] quickly became a staple in our house. They bake up beautifully crispy. It’s what I ended up using in this recipe, and we would also just eat them like nuggets with some bbq or ketchup. They are really a quite […]

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