It’s not often that a brand new ingredient comes along, and the first question that we had was - how do we cook it?
When the first sample of Impossible™ meat arrived for us to test cook in our kitchen we were all super excited. We had heard the rumours about how it would bleed and be indistinguishable from “real meat”. To our surprise it lived up to our expectations, it does bleed when you cook it and even Chef Kenny had trouble telling it wasn't beef after being cooked.
Needless to say we knew we had to cook with this ingredient and make some tasty meals.
We knew the meals had to be:
- 100% plant-based
- Taste amazing
After trying to make a few vegan meals that were lackluster, our key realization was that we should just make Impossible versions of our most popular meals.
So our cottage pie, beef stroganoff and lasagne bolognese were made into vegan plant based versions. It wasn’t difficult at all and we were amazed by the results. However we did have to make a few changes to make the meals completely plant based.
Making the Impossible Lasagne
A great lasagne consists of three parts:
- Bolognese sauce
- Bechamel sauce also known as white sauce
- Lasagne sheets
It turned out that making the bolognese sauce with impossible was as easy as replacing the meat. That’s it, we didn’t have to adjust the recipe in any other way, not even the seasonings. The lasagne sheets was also easy, just ensuring we used pasta sheets made without any eggs.
That leaves us with the bechamel sauce, which is traditionally made with butter, milk, starch and seasoned with nutmeg. The bechamel brings the lasagne together into the masterpiece that is lasagne, so we knew we had to get this right.
Deconstructing a bechamel it's just fat and starch cooked together to a thick and slightly sticky sauce that binds the lasagne together. We decided to use the cashew cream that we have been making for our Cheesy Cauliflower and Broccoli Bowl and it was perfect. It’s simply cashews soaked in water overnight, blended and cooked together with tapioca starch and seasoned. It’s incredibly cheesy and just like bechamel it brings the dish to life. In fact in the kitchen we just call it cashew bechamel these days.
The impossible lasagne was a hit and it made us super excited to try making even more great meals.
Making the Impossible Pie
Since making the lasagne went so well we thought to ourselves, let’s try it with the cottage pie!
A delicious cottage pie needs two things:
- Deep and intensely flavourful meat ragu
- Buttery freshly made mashed potatoes
Again making the meat ragu impossible was simply replacing the meat and finding an alternative to Worcestershire sauce, since it’s made with fish.
We love how simple it is to use impossible. We sear it just like we would normal beef or pork, although it’s not necessary to sear it as such a high heat as we ordinarily would with meat. To replace the Worcestershire sauce we found that apple cider vinegar was great, maybe even better than Worcestershire sauce to get the acid and tang that you want to balance the ragu.
For the mashed potatoes, it is really difficult to find a plant-based ingredient that can compete with butter, especially for mashed potatoes. Vegan foodie favourite nutritional yeast does have a cheesy and deep flavour to it, so we add a sprinkle of that to our mashed potatoes. For the fat that is needed to make the mashed potatoes come to life we used a canola oil and coconut oil and seasoned with a little more nutmeg than usual.
Putting it all together the dish turned out to be spectacular and has become a favorite guilt free dish that we can enjoy over and over again.
Making the Impossible Stroganoff
Our beef stroganoff with wild rice has been on our menu since the day we opened the kitchen and has been one of our most popular dishes year after year. The keys to it’s great taste are:
- Deeply creamy porcini and button mushrooms sauce with tender seared beef
- Wild rice mix of red and brown rice
Based on what we learnt from making the lasagne and pie we knew before we started that the plant based version of our stroganoff could work but needed some adjustments.
Luckily a lot of the flavour in the stroganoff comes from the porcini (also known as cepes) that is the foundation of flavour in the dish. Again replacing the beef with impossible meats was easy, unfortunately nobody has yet invented plant-based beef strips to our knowledge, so we had to settle for the ground beef style which also works.
Again we used the cashew cream in this dish and found that a little bit went a long way without overpowering or competing with the porcini.
Foods of the future
Learning to cook and develop new delicious dishes that not only taste good but also have a positive impact on the environment was really rewarding.
When we later got the chance to be one of the first to offer our customers the chance to cook impossible at home with the Impossible Brick, which is the same one we use in our kitchen and also the Impossible Burger Patties, we knew your guys would love it as many of you had asked us where to buy Impossible Meats to cook by yourselves at home.
We read somewhere that one of the biggest factors to affect adoption of plant-based foods is if they taste good and are an easy choice compared to meats.
These new meats made from plants make it easy to upgrade our traditional recipes and we can’t wait to cook with the next big thing!