Although this weekend was warm enough to put me in the mood for summer, we had sleet and snow on Monday, and yesterday was chilly as well. This put me in mind of more autumnal and wintry eats, something warm and homey and richly spiced.
I decided to play with my seitan recipe a bit, and I think I have vastly improved it. This is the best seitan I have made yet, and probably some of the best i've ever had. It turned out juicy and tender, and had a rich meaty flavor reminiscent of steak.
To compliment the seitan, I was planning to make pears in a red wine sauce (I had been thinking along the lines of 'pork tenderloin' in pear sauce). Too bad we were out of pears. And didn't have an open bottle of wine.
So instead I used apples and sauteed them in dark rum, water, and mulling spices. I had this packet of mulling spices laying around waiting for me to make mulled cider, but since we didn't have any whole cinnamon sticks or other spices, I decided to try using them to flavor the apples (and later the seitan). It worked beautifully!
Kat's Harvest Seitan
3/4 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup Quinoa Flour*
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup "Beef" Broth
1 TBSP Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
2 TBSP Tahini
1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 Apples, sliced and/or diced***
1 TBSP Earth Balance
1 TBSP Fresh Ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 Cup Dark Rum
2 Cups Water
1 Package Mulling Spices (or make your own)**
Sugar to taste
* You can substitute Soy Flour, but I don't like the flavor of Soy Flour. Both add tenderness to the seitan, but I think the Quinoa doens't mess with the flavor as much.
** Take 3 sticks of Cinnamon, 1 whole small Nutmeg, 3 TBSP Whole Cloves, 3 TBSP Whole Allspice, and 1 TBSP of Orange Peel. Place the Cinnamon and Nutmeg in a plastic baggie and smash with a hammer or other heavy object (fun!) and then mix in the rest of the spices. Use a little, a lot, or all of it for this dish.
*** I sliced one and diced the other. The variation is prettier and more interesting.
Mix your dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Mix your wet ingredients together in a pyrex measuring cup. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix. Stop adding the wet mix when you have a slightly wet dough.
Knead for 5 minutes.
Leave the dough in the bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth (or cover the dough with saran wrap). Set aside for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, get some water boiling in a pot for steaming (See Method 1).
After the seitan dough has rested for those 15 minutes, remove and manipulate into a tube shape. Using a sharp knife, slice rounds off from the tube, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and form each slice into a cutlet (pull and smoosh to desired shape).
Place these pieces on a plate that will fit into the steamer and then cover with another plate facing down (should look like a UFO or something) and place the whole thing in the steamer. Alternately, wrap/fold each piece tightly in foil and place them in the steamer.
Steam for 20-25 minutes.
In the meantime, heat 1 TBSP of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add your apple slices. Stir them around and saute them for a minute, then add the ginger, a pinch or two of sugar, 1/4 cup of the rum, and the mulling spices.
Saute until the rum is gone and then add some of the water until it's gone. Then add more rum. When it's gone, add more water. Back and forth, until the apples are soft. When they are done, remove the skillet from the heat and remove the apples, along with some of the spices (The apples will be prettier that way).
When your seitan is done, remove from the steamer. Add a spritz of olive oil to the skillet and add the seitan. Add a touch of rum and some more of the mulling spices (if needed) and saute until browned.
Serve along with the apples for a hearty, insides-warming meal. Combined with a good veggie side, this would make a great holiday type occasion sort of dish.
I had seitan left over, but no more of the cooked apples. The leftover seitan was great served with some pearl barley cooked in veggie broth for lunch.