Tuesday, April 10, 2012

March 19: Braised Seitan with Red Wine and Mushrooms

If you've not delved deeply into vegetarian food, you may be wondering about seitan. It's made from wheat gluten, is a complete protein, and has the texture of meat. I hadn't eaten it in years, but found some at the Littleton Coop and decided to get it. You can also make your own, which would be much cheaper than buying it. You can find many sites with instructions - here's a great one with pictures: http://www.eatingrules.com/2011/10/how-to-make-seitan/

I found this recipe in my vegetarian crockpot cookbook - Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals that are Ready when You Are by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2004). The flavor was amazing.

2 T olive oil
1 pound seitan, cut into 1/2 inch slices
6 shallots, quartered (you could certainly use an onion if you have no shallots - we had some left over from the last Farmer's Market of the fall - if you use an onion, chop it roughly)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz small white mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1/2 c vegetable stock
2 T tomato paste
1/2 c dry red wine
1 T minced fresh time or 1 t dried
salt and pepper to taste
[1/2 t Gravy Master or other vegetarian browning liquid]
3 and 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker

1. Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add seitan and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Return skillet to heat. Add other T oil. Add shallots and cook until softened and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Place shallot mixture in crockpot. Add mushrooms and seitan. Stir in stock, tomato paste, wine, and dried thyme (if using). Season with slat and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Near the end of the time, stir in fresh time (if using).

The recipe suggests scooping out 1 c of mushrooms at the end and blending in a blender or food processor with the Gravy Master and then returning it to the pot to thicken the sauce. We had no Gravy Master, so I eliminated this step. Instead, I took a bit of sauce and mixed it with 1 t cornstarch and then returned that to the pot for about 5 minutes. It thickened the sauce enough for us.

This was wonderful served over quinoa, with a side of roasted asparagus.

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