I'm hoping that things start to slow down soon, but who knows. No one tells you about how much busier your life gets when you are gainfully employed. Actually, I think they do...
Anyways, a few weeks ago I decided I needed to figure out what in the hell Seitan is. I'd heard of it, pretty sure I'd even eaten it before, but really didn't know what it was. So, I decided it was time to venture into imitation meat-ville.
Temporarily. At least.
So I found this recipe for Seitan from Scratch from "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker." As I began the process of basically removing all the nutritional value of wheat flour, I realized this was QUITE a labor intense process.
Making the stock was super easy (and I had TONS of homemade leftover vegetable stock which was awesome), and it smelled great. The annoying process was kneading the dough ball in water until the water was clear and not white. This took forever. I am still not convinced I got the water to run clear, but at least it was only sort of cloudy when I threw in the towel.
This recipe made a lot of seitan and it definitely LOOKED like meat.
Here's the recipe for the Seitan from Scratch from "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker."
•1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
•1 large yellow onion, quartered
•3 garlic cloves, crushed
•½ cup tamari or other soy sauce
•2 bay leaves
•2½ quarts plus 3 cups water, or more as needed
•6 cups whole wheat flour (about 2 pounds)
1. Combine the carrot, onion, garlic, tamari, and bay leaves in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 2½ quarts of the water, cover, and turn the heat setting to High.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the remaining 3 cups water. Stir well to combine, adding a little more water if the dough is too dry. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and add enough warm water to cover. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
3. Place the bowl holding the dough and water in the sink. Knead the dough in the bowl until the water turns white. Drain the liquid, then cover with fresh water and knead again until the water in the bowl turns white. Repeat the process, using fresh water each time, until the water is almost clear. The dough should now be a smooth ball of wheat gluten, or raw seitan.
4. Depending on how you plan to use it, leave the raw seitan whole or divide into 4 smaller pieces and add to the simmering stock. Change the heat setting to Low, cover, and cook for 4 to 6 hours.
5. Remove the cooked seitan from the cooker and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. If you are not using the seitan right away, it can be stored submerged in its stock in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days or frozen for several weeks.
So once this was all said and done (sorry I don't have pictures, it was
In the morning, I sliced up the Seitan "loaf" to make it look like cutlets.
Then I followed the recipe and put it all in the crockpot while I was at work.
I come home from work and the house smells AMAZING. Like, it smelled like legit pot roast.
Then I took a bite.
I mean, the initial flavor and texture was similar to pot roast but the chewy rubbery texture was just not ideal. AND to top it all off, I knew there was like ZERO nutrients in this dish. So, we decided to plop those cutlets on top of some macaroni noodles and call a spade a spade.
All in all, this was far too much work for a really not impressive outcome. If I were to ever make seitan again (or eat it for that matter), I would make sure there were some really REALLY bold flavors to compensate for the lack of a pleasing texture or flavor. Also, I would make sure there were tons of veggies involved to guarantee the health factor.
Here's the recipe for the Pot Roast from "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker."
1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
The cooked seitan (around 2 cups is what is called for)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 cup water, or more as needed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1. Arrange the onion, carrots, and potatoes
in the bottom of a lightly oiled slow cooker.
Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper
and add the stock, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the
2. In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten flour,
onion powder, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme,
1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. (Since I had already made the seitan, I just added the seasoning to the liquid)
Add the water and soy sauce.
Mix well, adding a little more water
if the mixture is too dry, then knead
for 2 minutes until smooth.
Shape the gluten to fit inside your cooker
and place on top of the vegetables.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on
LOW for 4 hours, or until the seitan and
vegetables are cooked.
3. To serve, remove the vegetables and seitan
from the slow cooker.
Cut the seitan into slices and arrange
them on a serving platter. Surround with the
vegetables and spoon the cooking liquid over