I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Ho! To all

When the holidays have us up against the wall, those with less than stellar organization get motivated. Just came back from the holiday shopping trip (yes I did it all on Christmas Eve) and I'm not sure there will be any cooking tonight. Maybe, but no promises. However I'll post my new favorite main dish type "roast", a turkey-style seitan that others have been developing for several years and I just started trying this year.

Didn't do it for Thanksgiving, and probably won't do it tomorrow (nobody else in my family would be interested) but I've made it a couple of times in between and it is now a staple. This was so reminiscent of turkey I got a little freaked out.

VeganDad has done a few incarnations of turkey seitan, Felicity at Thrifty Living has done one too, and there are many others floating 'round on the web, but until the price of veggie lunchmeats started hitting the stratosphere, I hadn't tried my hand. Now I'm a convert.

This recipe is easy (although it takes a while to cook), slices really well, tastes really good, and can be used as a special occasion dish, as deli slices, and for stew or pot pie. I'm actually going to make the next batch to try in a recipe Elise recently posted on Simply Recipes for Curry Turkey Salad. Vegetarians need recipes that use up holiday leftovers too, you know! (Far as I'm concerned, people, let's cut straight to the pot pie or sandwich options- who needs a centerpiece.)

The seitan I usually make never included tofu, but after looking at ThriftyLiving's recipe, I gave it a go, and it does make for a more tender result. I changed ingredients and quantities somewhat (less tofu, more gluten, also added chickpea flour) to keep it a little more on the firm side, and used poultry seasoning instead of individual dried seasonings. It seems to strike a nice balance between firm and tender, meaning it should hold up in a more liquidy recipe.

I went VeganDad's route, steaming and then baking, but per some advice he gave for one of his roasts, baked only for 30 minutes to avoid a too-dry result. Also I made this rather slender (about 3") to ensure even cooking throughout, but the traditional method is to make it more of a small roast-sized diameter, about 4" or so.

(Update 1/10/10- just made it again today in a 4" roast size, and it cooked through fine in the same amount of time.)

So whatever is on your plate tomorrow, I wish everyone a glad heart, a warm house, and a full tummy!

Turkey Style Seitan

Makes a 26 oz. loaf

¼ cup finely ground almonds (I use a spice grinder for the finest grind)
8 oz. soft or silken tofu, crumbled (if you use extra-firm you will need more water)
3 tsp. broth powder (or amount required for 2 cups broth)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup onion, minced, or 2 tsp. onion granules
1 large clove garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. garlic granules
¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1½ tsp. dried poultry seasoning
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1¼ cups vital wheat gluten (I use a 6.5 oz. box of Hodgson Mill)

Place ground almonds and crumbled tofu in a blender. Place the broth powder in a measuring cup, adding the soy sauce and enough water to make ½ cup. Stir well and place in the blender.

Add remaining ingredients to blender except gluten. Blend until smooth. Empty the mixture into a large mixing bowl, and blend in gluten until well combined.

Knead the dough briefly to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated, and form into a loaf about 3" to 4" thick. Allow it to rest while setting up and bringing water to boil in a steamer.

Wrap the loaf in a double thickness of aluminum foil, to prevent it from bursting out during steaming and baking. Twist the ends like tootsie rolls.

Steam 50 minutes over simmering water, turning over after 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F at the same time.

Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning over after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool a bit before unwrapping.


  1. Ho ho ho.

    I am passing a few blog awards your way.

    Nab the details off my post :)

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm glad to find yours and I've been reading through. I'm going to hit Amazon and see what kind of items I can find. This loaf looks amazing and I think my dh would love it. He's done so well with the diet change that I want to keep a variety of dishes that I can use for special meals.

  3. Be prepared to spend some time! I still haven't gotten through their entire 'grocery' department, but it has definitely been worth it to check out the offerings. And the offerings are more every time I check, so have fun.

    If your family does not have any gluten issues, seitan is a valuable and tasty addition to the vegan arsenal, and it is MUCH cheaper and better tasting when you make it from scratch. I truly love this recipe, and am so grateful to those who inspired it.