Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tomato-Mushroom Seitan

Hello friends!

I'm moving over from, so there may be many posts to begin with, as I move over all the vegan doughnut recipes! Please bear with me.

With that, on to seitan. It's delicious and quite easy to make, even if you're not a breadmaker, and you can make stock at the same time, but for some reason I never get around to it--oh, I don't have any potatoes for the stock, I'm out of soy sauce, etc. I've had a bag of wheat gluten sitting in my pantry for a while (and it made two other batches of seitan) but hadn't found the time--until this weekend. This is a triumph of whatever's-in-the-kitchen cooking, and the joys of having a well-stocked pantry.

We made stock with potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel greens I had stashed in the freezer, onions, garlic, bay leaves, celery seed, dill seed, peppercorns (black and white), some leftover celery, and a boullion cube (rapunzel brand). Once you've boiled the seitan in it the stock will become extremely delicious.

The seitan itself was based on a recipe scribbled on an orange scrap of paper titled 'Seitan is for lovers,' and also on a recipe from The Dirty South. I admit that Bethany made the actual seitan, so I'm not sure what all she spiced it with, but I'll do my best.

2 C vital wheat gluten
1/4 C nutritional yeast
salt, pepper
1/3 C red wine
1 C stock or broth
1/4 C chopped tomatoes (home-canned!)
1/4 C chopped re-hydrated oyster mushrooms
soy sauce to taste

Mix all together. Knead until springy. If the dough's too wet, add some more flour. Let rest 10 min. Knead some more. Let rest 10 more min. Cut (scissors work best here) into 8-10 pieces and boil in stock for 30 min-1 hour, until the seitan is firm. Freeze whatever you won't eat in a week with a bit of stock to cover.

This batch of seitan turned out a bit squishy because of the tomatoes and mushrooms. Next time I would mince or process the mushrooms so the seitan pieces wouldn't be so crumbly. Also, I would use tomato paste instead of tomatoes because, once boiled, the tomatoes were a bit bland.

This batch of seitan was good in soup and in dirty rice and fried with broccoli.

Another seitan story: The very first time I made seitan, maybe 7 years ago, was an unmitigated disaster. I was cooking lunch for the (80-person) co-op, and Robin gave me a recipe that made a huge blob of seitan. I didn't know to cut up the seitan before boiling it, and the pot in which I ended up boiling it, though a cauldron, was a bit too small. It all burned. I made something else in a hurry but everything smelled like burnt seitan.

Luckily, I've since learned how to cook!


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