As I stated in my previous post I have declared this to be seitan week since we are temporarily (hopefully) gluten-free. I wanted to save this recipe for the weekend because it is extra special. This is probably the best dish I have ever created. I don’t quite remember how the concept materialized, but I embraced it. What developed was better than I imagined. I can’t wait to make this again!
I’ve talked about making seitan from scratch before since we are soy-free. We’ve been making homemade seitan since before then, but at least we had the option to be lazy and buy pre-made seitan if we wanted to. Papa tummy is usually the seitan maker (I always ask him to cook all the difficult stuff) because I know vital wheat gluten is a pain to deal with. One night though I was throwing dinner together from a recipe out of the Great Vegan Bean Book in which I had to make a seitan-type patty. I didn’t mind doing it this time because she has you do most of the work in a food processor. It was less of a mess doing it that way and I really liked it so I decided it was time to create a seitan of my own.
We couldn’t just have seitan for dinner (although I could eat two pounds of this seitan and be good). It needed some equally fancy sides to accompany the “quite possibly best seitan I’ve ever had in my life,” as papa tummy mildly puts it. I approached the thought to the sides as an artist might approach a blank canvas wondering what colors would layer well with one another. I wanted each component to be simply seasoned, but when all combined into one bite meld into one familiar flavor. This is why I say it might be my signature dish. I put a lot of care and thought into each ingredient. I even worked on my plating skills for this one.
The mushroom seitan is bold with red onion and sage. The carrot polenta harnesses the subtle taste of thyme. The roasted cauliflower steaks ties everything together with the distinct flavor of rosemary. This dish is reminiscent of Salisbury steak without all the unappealing mess on top. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good gravy as much as the next person. Not everything needs gravy (that felt wrong just typing it, but it’s true). This seitan is just fine without, but you could add some if you like. I truly hope I haven’t built this up so much that you are disappointed with the outcome. In case I have though let me back pedal and say this is all complete garbage don’t bother making it (but please do and tell me how you like it).
Mushroom Seitan and Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Carrot Polenta
vegan, soy-free, nut-free
serves 6 to 8
For the Mushroom Seitan:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- small red onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat oil in a non-stick skillet and saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes. Let cool.
- In a food processor combine remaining ingredients, except for the gluten, with the mushroom mixture and blend until smooth. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup gluten and blend for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup gluten and blend for 5 more minutes. The dough will still be wet and pretty tacky (as you can see in the photo above).
- Put the remaining 1/2 cup gluten in a bowl and put the dough in the bowl. Knead with your hands until all the gluten is incorporated. The dough will still appear to be wet, but it should hold together. The moisture makes it easier to form into steaks.
- Shape dough into a log. Cut into 8 sections and flatten out each piece placing on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve with the following…
For the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks:
- 1 large head cauliflower
- olive oil
- coconut aminos
- salt and pepper
- dried rosemary, crushed
- Wash and trim all leaves from stalk of cauliflower. You can cut off the very end of the stalk if you prefer, but make sure you leave a good amount.
- Slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch slabs from the cauliflower. Try to get 8 slices out of it. This can be tricky since the end pieces won’t be connected to the stalk (as you can see in the photo above). Take care in making sure it stays together if you want it to appear as one piece.
- Lay the “steaks” on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and coconut aminos, it doesn’t need a lot so don’t overdo it. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Share the oven with the seitan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
For the Carrot Polenta:
- 6 carrots, peeled
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut carrots into chunks and steam for 15 minutes or until soft. Let cool.
- Put carrots in a food processor (I used the same bowl as the seitan without even washing it) and blend with broth, garlic, and thyme until smooth.
- Pour contents into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in cornmeal making sure there are no lumps.
- Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. It will thicken as it stands.