Product Type: Quorn Meat / Fish
Newest Review: ... low in saturated fat and high in fibre. Personally I don't really think that Quorn is like chicken, as the texture is slightly less ch... more
I've got the Quorn
Quorn Chicken Style Pieces
Member Name: ryanando
Quorn Chicken Style Pieces
Advantages: a healthier alternative to meat, good for a change, handy for vegetarians
Disadvantages: tastes a bit wierd unless you cook it in something strong
It's a fun past time we all enjoy. Most of us will do it in the privacy of our own homes, some will do it for bizarre sexual kicks and others, like myself, will do it on stage in front of hundreds of people. Last March I was putting my burlesque boots back on (or flip-flops as the case may be) and performing for a charity show in Dundee. The upshot being that I had an act to prepare for and two gorgeous girls to help get me naked who would probably require sustenance. I dragged them round to my place every Thursday to have a giggle and I even feed them for being so awesome. One of them, unfortunately, is a vegetarian (yes, it's unfortunate, animals taste amazing, ok!) so I had to amend my cooking slightly with the help of Quorn.
Quorn comes in a few different guises; Mince, Chicken breasts, Chicken pieces (which is what I've been using mostly), fish-fingers, meatballs and sausages. All of these, of course are a lie as there's not any meat contained in Quorn products, it just likes to pretend its meat. It's actually a Mycoprotein, a magical new fangled ingredient that I'd never heard of in my life till I had to start being kinder to cows.
Mycoprotein translates roughly as Fungus protein. So, basically, mycoprotein is a fungus. It was discovered when, in the 1960's scientists predicted a worldwide food shortage. They set about looking for good sources of protein; in 1967 they found what would later become mycoprotein. By the time Quorn first came onto the market in 1980's, though, we'd all realised that if we just ignore the poorer countries, we've all got plenty food so instead Quorn was marketed as an alternative to meat.
===Who would want it?===
"Vegetarians" are a magical race who come in all shapes and sizes. Some who call themselves vegetarians eat fish and chicken (semi-vegetarianism or flexitarianisim), some only eat fish (pescetarianism) and some do it properly and only eat vegetables. Most of them will be lazy and call themselves vegetarians anyway. But either way, this stuff is perfectly suited to all of them. It replaces the proteins you get from meat so you can still have a healthy diet. On that same street live the dieters and the healthy eaters. Quorn products (they claim) have 75% less fat than lean beef. It's also low in saturated fats and claims to be low in calories too. This last claim, however, is a touch dubious. After a bit of maths (since quorn gives you the information based on 87g for some wierd reason) I discovered Quorn contains (near as damn-it) 115 calories per 100g. Tesco's bog standard chicken contains 100 calories for the same amount. Quorn pieces do have one saving grace in that respect though: They don't shrink. Normal chicken is full of water and shrinks so by the time you cook 100g of real chicken, it turns into something that weighs a lot less. Quorn stays the same weight before and after being cooked so it probably still ends up being slightly lower in calories.
This same trick applies when looking at the fat and salt content. Quorn is ever so slightly higher in both (by about 0.5g) than real chicken per 100g, but the shrinkage of real chicken will probably equal that out.
As if it didn't already sound like the perfect food, Quorn products also contain no cholesterol (which even lean chicken does have) and according to them, some studies have shown it actively reduces it. I'd take no stock in that last statement though because if it was actively fighting cholesterol they'd have been able to prove it by now. Basically, Quorn is healthy as healthy can be.
===Is it pretty? ===
The product I've been using the most is the 300g bags of Chicken Pieces. You can get them in bigger bags of 500g depending on how much you want to use. The bags have the orange Quorn label down the side and a creamy coloured bag with a picture of a dish on it. Overall the bags are well presented. The Chicken pieces are stored in your freezer and should be cooked from frozen. The pieces themselves look just like chopped up frozen chicken, with that creamy white-ish colour. The pieces aren't really bigger than an inch cubed but they also aren't a uniform shape so you'll get smaller bits and bigger bits, just like if you chopped up real chicken by hand. Looks wise, I'd say they have the pieces bang on.
As for cooking the stuff goes, you can pretty much choose any method you want to get the job done whether that be on the hob, in the microwave or in the oven. Usually I'll stick it on my hob for about 15-20 minutes in whatever sauce I'm cooking it with.
Some people get funky about the texture of their food. I am not one of those people. I will, however, say that the texture of this stuff is actually really similar to chicken so even if I WAS one of those people, it probably wouldn't make much difference. It doesn't quite tear apart in the same stringy way chicken does, but other than that, the texture is almost spot on. Yay!
===Smelly, tasty Vegetarians===
My nose always bothers me, it's huge and it has super-smelling powers so smell is an important thing for me, especially in my food. Quorn does not smell like chicken. Though I'm pretty sure that's a good thing since chicken can smell really bad at times. It has a musky, fungus-y sweet smell to it. Not unpleasant but decidedly not meaty which is something that confuses my nose.
Unfortunately I've noticed that it tastes a lot like it smells which, personally I don't like. The smell is fine, but I wouldn't want to eat it. It's a very dry and overpowering flavour and I don't think it's suitable for use in mildly flavoured dishes like chicken salads or chicken breadcrumb pieces unless you actually like the taste of it. I have found, however, that if you are cooking it in strongly flavoured dishes it's fine. I usually use it to make chicken fajitas for my dancing girls each Thursday. It really soaks up the flavour of the spices greatly and by the time it's cooked, you can't tell it's Quorn. Since I've had some extra bits kicking about I've also been making a few more meals from it. It soaks up pesto brilliantly too and I'd venture to say it actually tastes better than my old real-chicken, pesto and pasta dish. To add to all this, the texture is also a really good match for chicken. I'm pretty sure I could make the more flavoured meals with Quorn chicken pieces and fool even my most carnivorous family members.
===Filler up, butter cup===
One thing I always worried about with Quorn was if it would be filling enough to last. No point in eating a load of food and then feeling hungry an hour afterwards, (something McDonalds hasn't learned yet). I use the same amount of Quorn as I would chicken and I can safely say it leaves me feeling nicely full for as long as chicken does. It possibly even lasts a little longer since usually I eat and then dance about like a fool (a sexy, sexy fool) for the next hour or two and I'm not hungry afterwards. In fact, I tend to not need to eat anything for supper either which is a good thing for me as if I have to eat before bed I never sleep.
===Faux Chicken won't cost you an arm===
So, we all know it comes down to price. I usually get 1kg of real chicken for £4.49 from Tesco. The 300g bags are £1.24 each so you will spend £4.96 and get 1.2kg of Quorn. I have noticed, however, that Quorn always seems to be on some sort of offer where you can buy 3 products for a fiver so I recently got three bags of 500g (1.5kg) each for £5. So, due to some sneaky maths, you'll spend a wee bit more but you'll also end up with up to half a kilo extra. The age old excuse that it costs too much to eat healthily is out the window on that one then. More yay for Quorn.
===Did it last===
March came and went, I got my kit off in spectacular style and I was no longer under any obligation to cook for my vegetarian friend. So did my use of Quorn stop at this point? In a word, yes. By this point I was quite fed up of Quorn and was pretty much gagging to go out and butcher a small animal myself to satisfy my blood lust. Needless to say I don't think we'll ever eat Quorn again in my household unless there is a pressing and urgent need to do so.
===What I just said, but shorter===
So let us round up. In comparison, the price is very acceptable coming in cheaper per gram than chicken. It looks just like real chicken does once it's all cooked and the texture is also pretty much on the mark. It has the staying power to keep me full even when acting the fool. The only thing I would have to take marks off for is the flavour as it isn't all too pleasant unless you've cooked it in something else with a lot of flavour. You couldn't really eat this on its own, so you couldn't substitute your chunks of roast chicken for it without quite an obvious flavour difference. Overall I'd give it four stars and urge you to try it out if you aren't a rampant meat eater like myself. It will probably help lead a healthier life style and is a decent replacement for chicken in recipes, though I really don't see myself wanting to eat it again due to overkill.
Summary: Quorns idea of what chicken should be like