Seitan Brew Stew (now with homemade Savory Seitan!)

Monday, March 4th, 2013

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As I was throwing this together – and I use that term casually, as though it didn’t take me a good 45 minutes to prep all the ingredients! – I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like the combination of beer with tomato juices. The tomatoes were the last thing to go in, and at that point the stew seemed so perfect – just the right amount of smoky and savory – that I was worried about fudging it up. That, and something about beer and tomato juice just sounded sketchy to me. But hey, I’m a fussy eater; it’s in my nature to turn up my nose at just about everything!

Which begs the question, why this recipe? Well, Shane made a batch of seitan in the slow cooker last weekend, so I had four half-pound loaves to use up. (This stew calls for a pound, and I froze the rest.) Necessity.

Turns out that beer with tomato juice, rosemary, and thyme? Pretty tasty! Throw in a pound of potatoes and some carrots, and you’ve got yourself one hearty pot of stew!

The ingredients are reminiscent of Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew, which I loved as a kid. Omit the tomatoes and replace the beer with vegan beef broth, and it could be a dead ringer. You know, minus the actual death. Note to self: must try sometime.

Both recipes – the Seitan Brew Stew and the homemade Savory Seitan – are from American Vegan Kitchen, which I reviewed last week. And I’m still motivated to try new recipes: that should tell you just how much I love this cookbook!

fwiw, the seitan was really easy to make, and doubly so since we went with the slow cooker variation. Not only is it less hands-on than the baking method (wherein the cutlets are fried prior to baking), but you don’t have to waste any aluminum foil either. It does take 7 hours longer to bake though, so planning ahead is key. Shane started his a bit late in the day, and had to stay up past his bedtime to remove the roasts from the crock pot. Don’t be Shane!

Seitan and Herb Dumplings

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

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From American Vegan Kitchen!

I can’t even remember the last time I had dumplings, y’all. Back when I was a wee little thing (okay, not so little; my nickname was Jelly Belly Kelly for a reason, you dig?), my mom used to make sauerkraut and dumplings for my grandmother – complete with a side of liver (ew!), which stunk up the house something awful. I don’t remember liking it much: not the sauerkraut, not the dumplings, and certainly not the liver.

Besides, I thought dumplings were stuffed with goodies, instead of being baked in them? Kind of like pierogies plus!

Point being, I was curious to try the Seitan and Herb Dumplings recipe in AVK, just to see if my feelings vis-à-vis dumplings had changed any in the intervening twenty-five years. Besides, if I didn’t like it, there was a big fat bowl of leftover fusilli sitting in the fridge with my name on it.

Turns out, dumplings aren’t half bad. Since I have no idea what a dumpling is supposed to taste like, I can’t be 100% certain that I nailed it. The outsides of my dumplings were soft and mushy, having absorbed all the stewy juices they’d been simmering in. Makes sense! It was hard to tell if the innards were done, though. They seemed a bit…spongy, maybe? Not bad, but dense. I think I like ’em, but in moderation. Maybe five to a bowl? Yeah, I’m specific.

The stew (or is this a soup? idk!) is really hearty and flavorful – quite good! Surprising, given that there aren’t too many spices in it. Must be the thyme. And the seitan – I lazed out and used store-bought, but AVK does include a few homemade seitan recipes – is reminiscent of the beefy chunks in Dinty Moore Beef Stew. (Oh, how I loved that stuff in my omni days! One Christmas my aunt even gave me a huge Costco size as a stocking stuffer.) Even if I don’t go for the dumplings, I’ll most definitely make the stew again.

Belly, full. Pants, off. Or at least exchanged for sweatpants. I’ll leave it to your imagination, reader.