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Vegan Madeira and Pancetta-Infused Chicken Spezzatino

I shamelessly admit to having a fangirl crush on Giada De Laurentis. Her perfect bre...*cough*...I mean, smile, wins me over in an instant. What woos me even more are her Italian roots. In the past, I've rambled enough about my love of Italian cuisine. Yes, it was fostered in an environment where the overwhelming mob population bankrolled the majority of Italian restaurants. That's what made it so authentic.

Mafia influence aside, Youngstown's Italian food was (and still is) some of the best I've ever eaten. Now, back to Giada and her nice rack...of garlic bulbs. While many of the recipes in her cookbook border on the cliche side of Italy's foodscape, that doesn't mean I can't use them as a blank canvas to veganize and insert my culinary style. My hellish work schedule is cutting into my regular "cook like a fiendish mofo" schedule. When asked, I jumped at the opportunity to cook for a group of my friends last week. 

Giada's Chicken Spezzatino seemed like the perfect dish to warm the frigid 55 degree LA weather right out of our bones. Special thank to all my testers who validated that this recipe is, in fact, a winner. Special thanks to Giada for giving me some inspiration and someone that looks prettier shimmying about a kitchen than Mario Batalli. Enough boob and garlic talk for one post. 

What a year it has been. Even though lately I find myself with less free time than someone with a triple major in college, I see true value in the rare, idle moments I have to myself. When I sit down to write at my computer, I feel an unparalleled synergy with the universe. I'm typing away about a professional chef's beautiful breasts, but that's not the point. It just feels right. My dog Izzy is asleep on the couch behind me, and at this point in my life, this is the perfect tiny family. It makes this concrete jungle feel a little more like home. What? You really thought I wouldn't bring up boobs again? Shame on you. Happy Jew Year, kids.
Madeira and Pancetta Infused "Chicken" Spezzatino
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP Vegan Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 batch of Vegan Pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes (see below)
  • 1 batch of Vegan Chicken, cubed (Or Pre-made Vegan Chicken Breasts, cubed)
  • 2 stalks of Celery
  • 1 large Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 2 TBSP Shallots, finely minced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Madeira Wine
  • 1 14 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 1/3 cup No Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, chiffonade
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme, mince
  • 1 can Organic Kidney Beans, drained
In a 6 quart saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil and melt butter completely. Add the garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the celery, carrots, onions, shallots and "pancetta", "chicken" and cook stirring occasionally, until the onions and shallots are translucent and the "pancetta" and "chicken" are beginning to brown. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Add the Madeira to the pan, stir once, then add in the tomatoes in juice, no chicken broth, basil, bay leaf, thyme and tomato paste. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Add the kidney beans, and simmer for another 10 minutes until the liquid reduces. Discard the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper, then serve. 

 For the "Pancetta"...
  • 12 oz baked firm Tofu, preferably "smoked" flavor
  • 6 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • 4 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Beef Broth Paste mixed with 1/2 cup Water
  • 1-2 tsp Colguin Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
Slice the baked tofu into very thin slices, then dice the slices into small squares. Place the diced tofu in a shallow, airtight container. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients very well, then pour over the diced tofu. Allow the tofu to marinade for a about 2 hours. Drain the tofu well before using.


First of all there is no such thing as too much boobie or garlic talk. Why limit two of the best things in the world? Ridiculous.

Yes, Giada is crazy beautiful and a talented chef. I'm not sure if I watch her show more in amazement of how stunning she is or how creative her dishes are. Hmmm...

THIS dish looks amazing. Yours always look and sound like gourmet meals but then you make the recipe seem simple and doable - thank you!
Mihl said…
I admit I had to google that lady first.

Why did we use up or last can of San Marzano tomatoes a couple of weeks ago? That stuff is so hard to get here. But I guess regular tomatoes wouldn't kill the taste of this amazing looking dish, right?
Unknown said…
wow jenn! that looks really great. and i shamelessly adore (and simultaneously loath) giada! i adapted her chicken vesuvio to tofu vesuvio once and it was a huge hit!
i'm very inspired by the pancetta. gotta try that. you rock! glad to hear you're doing so well and happy new year!
Jes said…
Vegan pancetta?! Hot damn! Almost as good as Giada's rack...of lamb. And happy anniversary--what an easy to remember date :)
iRaw said…
Woooo! Looks awesome good!
Cortney said…
Nigella is the Italian cook for me all the way. That curvy, sexy, messy bitch slurping and licking off whatever liquid happens to be on her hands with the camera shamelessly zoomed in, plus her own fabulous rack, is too much for me :)
I am all for boobies, so I'm just going to trust your judgement and make this very fancy, beautiful dish. Happy New Year and Happy One Year, deary.

Oh yeah, I made potstickers! (not as fancy as yours + I deep fried mine, but hell- I might have never done it w/o your inspiration!)
girl, you are so effin' awesome.
you are the julia child of vegann cooking. I used to LOVE pancetta, it is soooooo very roman, which explains the crush on Giada, as she is Roman. I miss Roman cooking, but I am going to give this a try, and who knows, maybe I will be able to make roman food once again!
Anonymous said…
Happy first anniversary! I hope you have many more to come.

Giada is hot, definitely agree with you there. I also agree with a previous poster, you can never have too much boobie and garlic talk!
Damn, I'm dying to have you cook for me!
Anonymous said…
I'm so glad this recipe just popped up in a search for vegan pancetta & I came across your blog. This dish looks fantastic.