You may not be familiar with Quorn; I myself wasn’t until a scant six months ago. Quorn being the brand name, it is based on a meat alternative called mycoprotein that is made from a fungus that grows on the beds of forests (yum!). If your mouth isn’t watering yet, good, cause that sounds really gross. But it is actually a very tasty (in its processed form), and healthy, replacement for meat, high in protein and fiber. It is sold in all manner of shapes and sizes from chicken style nuggets to ground beef, perfect for tacos and spaghetti sauces. A warning to vegans: egg is added during the processing of the fungus. So as it stands, this product is only for ovo-vegetarians. And though I have no proof for my theory, I’d imagine they are hard at work coming up with a vegan friendly formulation of the product.
The product I have become most smitten with, and I credit with restoring my excitement for the coming holidays, is the Quorn Turk’y Roast. I admit, at first glance, the log o’ fake turkey is not the most appetizing of sights, looking like the shriveled nubbins of an arm amputee’s stump, wrapped in a plastic cooking bag gathered at each end like a giant sausage. Though I suppose it is better than if they tried to make it look like an actual turkey (which would probably look like it was molded out of play-doh, shudder). Upon removal from the packaging it can either be placed in the oven as is with only a few holes poked in the baking bag to allow ventilation, or it can be prepared with various herbs, spices, and stuffing for a more authentic Thanksgiving presentation. Being the lazy person I am, I opted for the former method and threw it in the oven on a baking sheet at the recommended 425 degrees.
It takes only 30 minutes to cook, much quicker than your average holiday bird. After retrieving it from the oven and taking a look at the finished product, I see that the outside of the fungus log has browned slightly, though not necessarily evenly, the bottom having some dark scorch marks where it contacted the pan. If you are looking forward to a dark, crusty, skin like covering, you will be disappointed; the entire log is basically the equivalent of white turkey meat. Surprisingly there was a small amount of Turk’y juice that pooled around the bottom. Not enough to make gravy from, unfortunately, but just enough to wipe up with your finger and lick off in an attempt to tide yourself over in the presence of all that deliciously-mocking Thanksgiving grub.
Turkey is often carved at the table in grandiose fashion for all to gape in awe at the magnificent bird. Safe to say, Quorn will probably not illicit that same response. So, without much fanfare, I grabbed a sharp kitchen knife and set to work carving my Turk’y. There is in actuality very little work involved, it slices very easily into little round medallions, cut as thin or thick as you like.
The moment of truth upon me, it was time for the final payoff, in the world of fungal meat alternatives it was sink or swim…and the verdict? Swim! The Quorn Turk’y is amazingly delicious, and though it does not reproduce the taste of an actual cooked bird, it manages to capture the taste of Thanksgiving very well, tasting as if it has been lightly pre-seasoned accordingly. The texture is a cross between dry turkey meat and a hotdog, slightly softer than the real thing. It is more firm than a ballpark frank and slightly grainier, dry (but not too), like you expect turkey to be. Overall a very pleasant mouth feel. It goes very well with a vegetarian gravy and stuffing, and when mixed with these others foods in a single bite, I was hard pressed to tell it wasn’t real turkey I was eating. But as with any decent Thanksgiving meal, the real test is how well it works as leftovers. Once again, the Turk’y passed with flying colors; it made a very tasty sandwich!
Though some Quorn products tend to be a little on the bland side, the Turk’y Roast is a tasty addition to any ovo-vegetarian’s Thanksgiving Day celebration. So next time Thanksgiving rolls around, don’t cheat with that turkey meat, have a slice of Turk’y instead. Your morals will thank you.