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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Experimenting With Tofurkey

Posted by on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Though I am openly carnivorous, I have a tendency to experiment with fake meat. Sometimes, as with Gardenburger's fake beef patties, it doesn't work out so well. Other times, as with Soyrizo, it works out just fine. Sometimes, as with the Quorn fake chicken (or, as I like to refer to them, "fricken") patties, they're better than the "real meat" frozen equivalent. Last night, because I knew I would be eating alone and wouldn't be inflicting my whims on anyone else, I decided to make a Tofurkey.


(Not my photo.)

Tofurkey is, at least, pretty easy to make. You just cut the thing out of its plastic wrap, surround it with vegetables (I used what I had lying around in the kitchen: carrots, cabbage, onions, and Italian parsley) and then cover it with a mushroom gravy that comes in the box with the Tofurkey. Then you roast it for an hour and a half-ish at 350º.

(Also not my photo.)

The good thing about Tofurkey is the fact that the middle of the loaf is stuffing. And because the stuffing is surrounded by tofu, it's moist, and it's delicious bread stuffing. The other good thing about Tofurkey is the mushroom gravy, which is one of the better preprepared gravies I've ever had.

The bad thing about Tofurkey is the Tofurkey. It's edible, and I guess it tastes a little like turkey, but it's got a weird gluey aftertaste that's not appealing at all. The consistency was okay—not meat-like at all, but it's more solid than regular old tofu at least—but it's just not that good. I think most makers of vegetarian meat-like products (excepting the pressed mushroom that In the Bowl and Teapot serve for beef and the aforementioned Quorn fricken) would be better trying to invent something new. If they sold the stuffing and gravy separately, I'd be all over them. As it is, I swear I will never eat Tofurkey again.


Comments (48) RSS

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Paul, I don't think you're supposed to roast it with the gravy. At least, I've never heard of anyone doing that. The classic marinade that I usually use is a blend of soy sauce and orange juice.

Here are the three basting options from the Tofurky site:

Tofurky Baste - option 1:
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

Tofurky Baste - option 2:
1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sweetener of your choice.

Tofurky Baste - option 3:
1 tablespoon apricot jam or spread
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water

When cooked properly, I find Tofurky to be quite delicious. Of course, I haven't had real turkey in over a dozen years, so what do I know?
Posted by Levislade on December 30, 2008 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Fieldroast, dude FIELLLLLDROAST.
Posted by Non on December 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Dude, stick with Field Roast. It's the only faux meat I've tasted that's not merely remotely edible, but actually tasty.
Posted by Jay Andrew Allen on December 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM · Report this
You totally neglected to mention the fact that after eating Tofurkey, your urine smells like turkey for the next day and a half. Chemical odors perhaps?

As the others have said, Field Roast is the best non-meat option. As a 9-year-old vegetarian, I'll eat Tofurkey when it's around because it's close to what I remember, but Field Roast will appeal to even the most die-hard meat eater.
Posted by BombasticMo on December 30, 2008 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Again, Field Roast is the way to go. I feel spoiled as a vegan being able to buy their products around Seattle.
Posted by jared on December 30, 2008 at 12:30 PM · Report this
I'm like you - not a vegetarian but I like to buy and eat those sorts of vegetarian products when possible. I like the Gardenburger / Morningstar / Boca type products that don't pretend to be meat. Almost anything that pretends to be meat is disgusting (e.g., Morningstar Spicy Black Bean Burger = tasty, Morningstar "Grillers" = disgusting).

The exceptions that I have found are the Quorn fake chicken that you mentioned, and the Tofurkey lunchmeat, which I think is pretty good.
Posted by Julie in Chicago on December 30, 2008 at 12:30 PM · Report this
I'm one of the 0.001% of people allergic to the mycoprotein used to make Quorn. I get queasy and then turn beet red from the chest up. It actually looks pretty funny.

Le sigh.

Anyway, yeah, I love Tofurky. It's way better than I thought something with the syllable 'furk' in it would ever be. But I've only ever made it with a soy-sauce-based baste (the soy sauce is pretty effective at penetrating the soy-based 'meat').

I don't know where you got the idea that you should baste it in the gravy, it tells you what to do right on the box. Then again, it tells you how to spell 'Tofurky' right on the box, too.
Posted by Ben on December 30, 2008 at 12:33 PM · Report this
I use the second basting option from above, then pour the gravy on afterwards. The box lists the first two basting options and tells you to heat the gravy separately.

I like the taste and texture of Tofurky. It's not at all like turkey, which I remember loving, but it's pretty good. The stuffing is very good, I've never had pre-made stuffing that was better. It does scent you urine, as do asparagus, coffee, vitamin supplements...
Posted by dwight moody on December 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM · Report this
It's because you made the classic mistake of following the terrible recipe on the box. I as well am a meat eater, but my wife is vegetarian, so I often experiment with fake meat as well. I've discovered that there is a way to make it that will result in a delicious and moist and flavorful tofurkey without all the icky dryness and bad aftertaste.

Instead of roasting it, brown it in olive oil in a pot, and then add 2 cups of veggie broth, 1/2 cup oj, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup soy sauce. Simmer it on low for about two hours, then add the gravy. Simmer on low for an additional hour. Voila! Delicious, even to a diehard omnivore like myself.
Posted by jvp on December 30, 2008 at 12:35 PM · Report this

Oh my god that looks disgusting.
Posted by gk on December 30, 2008 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Morningstar Farms fake bacon (fakin) is actually quite yummy!
Posted by NaFun on December 30, 2008 at 12:41 PM · Report this
I have always wondered about Quorn. So it's worth trying? Except now I'm afraid that maybe I'm allergic to mycoprotein or whatever.

BombasticMo: You are quite articulate for a 9-year-old! Congrats.
Posted by leek on December 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Most vegetarian foods (not just fake meats) take some getting used to if you're used to the overwhelming umami of animal fat/protein at every meal, very common in southern/midwestern/latin diets. Some people get headaches when they withdraw from it, similar to sugar withdrawal. Dump a lot of MSG, soy sauce, or parmesan cheese (glutamates similar to meat flavor) onto your vegetarian foods to replicate the flavor.
Posted by fight meat addiction on December 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Quorn rules.
Posted by Grant Cogswell on December 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Morningstar Farms, aka Kellogg's.
Posted by GMO = Delicious! on December 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Soyrizo is my all-time fave (brown a bit first and then add a couple of scrambled eggs), but one serving has about a week's worth of sodium.
Posted by Mahtli69 on December 30, 2008 at 12:48 PM · Report this
The gruyere breaded Quorn is the best. Highly recommended.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM · Report this
@10: Good food often looks disgusting.

@12: something like 1 in 100,000 people are allergic to it, and the allergy is basically "You don't feel so good for a couple hours, and then you look silly for a couple more hours but feel fine." Give it a try.
Posted by Ben on December 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Huh, 1 in 1 million according to the Quorn site. Intriguing! I noticed that gruyere Quorn in Whole Foods yesterday so I'll have to try it out. Thanks folks.
Posted by leek on December 30, 2008 at 12:52 PM · Report this
There are 100,000 better things to do with tofu than to try to make horrible fake meat with it.
Posted by Fnarf on December 30, 2008 at 12:54 PM · Report this
I eat Stove Top for dinner.
Posted by w7ngman on December 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM · Report this
There are 100,000 better things to do with tofu than to try to make horrible fake meat with it.
Posted by Fnarf on December 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Quorn tastes good, but one of its main ingredients is eggs, which is just another form of chicken. It doesn't bother me, but it's a bit ironic or funny or whatever the appropriate word for that is. The Quorn Cranberry & Goat Cheese Chik'n Cutlet is da bomb.

And I'll raise my hand with all the others in support of Field Roast. Their apple and sage sausages are the best sausages I've ever had, meat or veggie. Just the best, period.
Posted by JC on December 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM · Report this
I use the Quorn chicken tenders in my "chicken" paprikosh recipe (from my little hungarian gramma). It's quite amazing. While I love the Field Roast, all that gluten is scary to me. I like to at least pretend that my fake meat has some sort of nutritional value, and with the almost all-gluten products there's no pretending. At least with most of the tofurkey stuff they use vegetable protien first and fill it out with some gluten. I write this as I eat my tofurkey lunchmeat sandwich brought from home.
Posted by scharrera on December 30, 2008 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Good use of umami, @13. I think the best vegan source is toasted sesame oil. Lavishly marinading my tempeh in preparation for chili.
Posted by emma's bee on December 30, 2008 at 1:08 PM · Report this
I've seen the Tofurkey stuffing for sale at the Ballard Fred Meyer.
Posted by cat on December 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM · Report this
The horrible thing about Tofurky is that a lot of meat eaters start their foray into vegetarian food by trying Tofurky first, the taste of which IMMEDIATELY SPOILS THEM OF ANY INCLINATION TO EXPAND THEIR RESEARCH.

I've been vegetarian for five years and vegan for two. I still refuse to eat Tofurky. That shit is disgusting.
Posted by Plastic Shoes on December 30, 2008 at 1:37 PM · Report this
I'll think that I'll pass on the Tofurkey but where can I try Field Roast?
Posted by Sad Comment on December 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Oh, man. There are now strikes through all the e's in Tofurky in this post. Embarrassing.

I do like field roast a lot. Sad Comment, you can get it at Madison Market and at some of the grocery store's fake meat sections.
Posted by Paul Constant on December 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Tofurkey gravy is awesome. And yes, it can be purchased separately.
Posted by ks on December 30, 2008 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Nafun @11 for the win. But Field Roast is good, in a pinch.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 30, 2008 at 1:46 PM · Report this
@12: You steal my thunder, thief!
Posted by TVDinner on December 30, 2008 at 1:52 PM · Report this
Best of Bento makes some damn good fried tofu.
Posted by Greg on December 30, 2008 at 2:00 PM · Report this
I am so sick of all the faux meat products multiplying on the grocery shelves, I am about ready to create the world's first all beef tofu in revenge.
Posted by samdinista on December 30, 2008 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Why did they drop the 'e', anyway? Making your food product more similar to "murky" doesn't sound smart.
Posted by w7ngman on December 30, 2008 at 2:33 PM · Report this
All yays to the Field Roast.

THAT SAID, Tofurky's (or Turtle Island's) OTHER meatless products are good too.. the veggie kielbasa, beer brats, and italian sausage are quite good.

Field Roast makes far more kickass fake meat, of course -- but the Tofurky brats are good too!

It's sad irony that Tofurky's worst product by far is the Tofurky itself.
Posted by mackro mackro on December 30, 2008 at 2:44 PM · Report this
35: isn't that what Spam is?
Posted by mackro mackro on December 30, 2008 at 2:45 PM · Report this
34: isn't that what Spam is?
Posted by mackro mackro on December 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Personally, I miss the Unturkey, and its extinction is a crime against humanity.

(I once saw a Fremont PCC shopper fight over grabbing the last Unturkey!)
Posted by mackro mackro on December 30, 2008 at 2:47 PM · Report this
If you think they look ugly out of the oven, you should see them in the wild.
Posted by NapoleonXIV on December 30, 2008 at 3:05 PM · Report this
tofurkey isn't actually made out of tofu....
Posted by olive on December 30, 2008 at 4:38 PM · Report this
I like the tofurkey @ Trader Joe's
Posted by Simone on December 30, 2008 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Thanks for the tip, I won't try Tofurkey.
But morningstar corn dogs are delicious. The best morningstar product I've tasted.
I'll have to check out this "Field Roast" thing.
Posted by Ben on December 31, 2008 at 12:40 AM · Report this
The best thing about a Tofurky is if you get the whole "Tofurky feast," you get these really really tasty dumplings that come with it. I would buy them alone if I could, but I've never found them separately.

The best Tofurky product, other than that, is the beer brats. Damn, those are good.
Posted by litlnemo on December 31, 2008 at 4:42 AM · Report this
Soyrizo is awesome! Thanks for its shout-out.
Posted by Zil on December 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM · Report this
The correct vegetarian Thanksgiving meat substitute is the Roast, made by the aforementioned Quorn folks.
Posted by kap0w on December 31, 2008 at 3:22 PM · Report this
I like the Tofurkey. It's not my favorite; I definitely prefer the Field Roast (especially their sausages), but I like to have Tofurkey from time to time. Once a year, maybe. I reiterate: you shouldn't roast it with the included gravy. That should be prepared separately on the stovetop. Baste with the marinades that they suggest on the box, or come up with one on your own.
Posted by mellow on January 2, 2009 at 1:35 PM · Report this
Update: I had the Quorn chik'n patty for the first time tonight. It doesn't appear to have killed me! Tasted pretty good, too.
Posted by leek on January 2, 2009 at 9:17 PM · Report this

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