I knew almost immediately my veganised version of this dish would turn into a casserole, except that's not really true. I just didn't read the directions and cocked stuff up enough to eventually figure a casserole would be the easiest way out. I'm completely glad I went down that road though, because this dinner ruled.
I started off by making the garlic oil as directed in the original recipe (still enjoying the aftertaste- could this explain my lack of friends who live locally?). Into my stock went the carrot, thyme, garlic, and celery, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, plus only 3 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder. Simmered for about 30 minutes on low heat, a lot of liquid was still lost. As a result, once I got to the stage of making the roux (I only used ⅓ cup flour) and adding the broth, I chucked in half a cup of white wine. Perfect. Then I flung my whisk across the counter. Three times. FMKS (clue: the last two letters stand for "kitchen skills"). At least nothing went into my eye for once.
In place of the chicken I opted for Redwood chicken pieces and halved Jersey royal new potatoes. I'd really never given that particular brand of faux chicken much of a chance until Vegan Bear used it in a Spanish chicken recipe at the London Vegan Pot Luck on Wednesday, and now I'm a little in love with its possibilities. I fried the protein and spuds together in the oil for about ten minutes and then tipped the lot into an oven proof dish. The gravy went on top and it went into a 150 degrees C oven for 15-20 minutes (just enough time to finish off the potatoes).
I didn't write down my exact changes, but just in case you're considering giving this a go I've got some basic numbers for reference: 2 packets of the Redwood chicken (300 g) and 250g new potatoes (½ inch pieces) made the bulk of the recipe. Everything else was as-is, save any changes I mentioned above (and I recommend the addition of wine).
The verdict? Good. I'm pretty much the world's biggest fan of garlic, so it's tough for a dish to ever go too far overboard so far as I'm concerned. Plus the method of cooking the garlic renders it less pungent and more creamy, not dissimilar to how it would taste roasted. The recipe is incredibly rich, with its high oil content, but fat is what brings flavour to the table. And I'll always choose less of something not so good for me that tastes divine than more of something that's a bit meh and is healthy.
If you like fried (which is one of the food groups) and garlic (the other food group) then get cracking.