Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chick au Poivre with Frites

Every now and then, or maybe a little more frequently than that, my token omnivore and I enjoy a good veg session on the couch with a good movie and snuggle time with the pup. This usually involves a meal eaten in our laps at each other’s sides which makes the experience wholesome and special. Most meals have a way of doing that, don’t you think?

So this week, after the hype of the Academy Awards, I was itching to see Hugo. For one, it takes place in Paris and I love all things French (except the B.O.). Plus, with Martin Scorsese in charge now donned with a fresh Oscar, it sounded like my kind of flick. This of course led me to believe we must have something French for dinner. The options however didn’t sound that appealing as I ran through the list of basic ideas: ratatouille, crepes, cassoulet, some kind of tart. Boring. Until I came across a recipe for Steak au Poivre.

To be honest, I was enticed by the French Fries in this picture during my research. So I started thinking about a steak replacement. Leftovers from last weekend’s ski trip? That’ll work! Both the cooked pasta and canned chickpeas needed to be used up before sliming over in the fridge, and I recalled reading a veggie burger recipe somewhere with a secret ingredient of pasta as a binding agent. Can’t remember the source, but the idea sure stuck.

A picture for inspiration and some fridge-clearing creativity brought me to this fabulous meal. Complete with, yes, frozen French Fries. We don’t have to be classy all the time.

Chick au Poivre
Makes: 4 patties
Cook time: 20-30 minutes


1 c. whole wheat or GF pasta, cooked
½ T. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs
½ T. vegan Worcestershire sauce
½ T. poultry seasoning
4-5 drops liquid smoke
¼ tsp. chick-un bouillon (optional)
1 c. chickpeas (drained and rinsed if using canned)

¼ c. tapioca starch
¼ c. rice flour
½ - 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-2 T. quality Dijon mustard
1-2 T. vegetable oil
Red Wine Glaze (recipe below)


Place the pasta in a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds, or until pasta is well ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in soy sauce, Worcestershire, poultry seasoning and liquid smoke. Blend to incorporate seasonings. Add chickpeas to the mix and mash with a potato masher or fork to break up the chickpeas leaving some chunks.

Place tapioca and rice flours into a medium bowl and stir in your desired amount of ground pepper. Set flour aside for dipping.

Form the chickpea mixture into 4 circular or funky-shaped patties. Brush one or both sides with Dijon mustard and coat both sides well in the rice flour mix. Transfer to plate and/or refrigerate to firm up patties if desired.

Heat oil of choice in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add patties and cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve patties with a spoonful or two of Red Wine glaze and a good dose of French Fries!

Red Wine Glaze

Makes: about ½ cup
Cook time: 5-7 minutes


½ T. Earth Balance
2 T. shallots, minced
½ c. dry red wine
½ c. vegetable stock or broth
1/3 c. non-dairy milk or creamer of choice


In a small saucepan, melt Earth Balance over medium heat and add shallot. Cook 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add red wine and broth and increase heat to medium-high. Reduce by about half and add milk/creamer of choice. Reduce heat to medium again and cook the liquid down until sauce is nice and thick, using your judgment of when to pull the plug on the heat.

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