In the past, I’ve stuck to wine pairings for a good reason: I’m not a fan of drinking beer. However, I love it in cooking. My husband, Jim, enjoys beer and happily agreed to sample a beer (or two) to find a great match for this burger. Let’s start with the recipe, which is a new variation on the All-American Incrediburgers from American Vegan Kitchen. We love the texture of these hearty burgers, which can stand up well to grilling. Or pan fry them for a crisp and delicious outside.
Yield: 6 burgers
These spices bring the reuben to the burger. I always keep this blend on hand for seasoning tofu before pan frying it. Or add 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of seitan, cut in strips. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the seitan until browned, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes for instant corned seitan.
Reuben Spice Blend
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/3 cups hot water
- 1 cup texturized vegetable protein
- 1/ 2 cup minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 cup dill pickle juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 6 Reuben Buns (see Vegan Appetite), toasted
- 1/3 cup vegan Thousand Island dressing, of choice
- 1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, heated
- To make the spice blend, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the water and texturized vegetable protein until rehydrated, about 10 minutes. With a fork, stir in the onion, vital wheat gluten, and reuben spice blend. When combined, add the pickle juice, tomato paste, and oil. Stir well, then knead together until you can see some gluten threads forming. It will be a slightly crumbly dough. Add an additional tablespoon of vital wheat gluten or pickle juice if needed so that the mixture will hold together.
- Tear 6 (12-inch) pieces of foil and prepare a steamer. Divide the mixture evenly among the pieces of foil. Using the foil, flatten and shape each into a burger about 4-inches across. Form the foil into a packet around the burger, but leave room for the burger to expand during steaming. When all the burgers are shaped, steam the burgers for 1 hour. Remove from the steamer and unwrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking to ensure the best texture. At this point, the burgers may also be packaged and frozen for 4 months.
- To prepare, heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers until dark brown and slightly crisp on the outside, about 5 minutes. Turn over to cook the other side. Spread the dressing on the buns and place a burger on each bun. Divide the sauerkraut evenly among the burgers and put the tops on the buns.
- If you prefer, omit the buns and use rye or pumpernickel bread to make these into patty melts.
About That Beer (Jim)
Sometimes a wine won’t match up with a dish, and sometimes a beer is just a better choice. It can be the food match, it can be the weather, or just the time of day.
Beer has its own interesting flavor profiles that work with certain foods like nothing else, especially with pizza, sandwiches, and certain fried foods. If you don’t think you like beer, experiment. A good Stout is far different than something German and über-hopped. Beer can be edgy or mellow. It can be chocolaty, or have all sorts of roasted grain notes; it depends on the maker. For vegans, check online to see what’s vegan-friendly.
I am not a big fan of American general-use beer, although generations of my family lived on it. We used to buy my grandmother cases of a certain Light beer every Christmas. But I like something with more flavor and character. I have an English buddy who I did a music video with, and at 12:00 noon he was having an all-purpose US-market beer. I said to him that it was always a good time for a beer, and he said, “Beer? This isn’t beer, it’s a *****weiser” (rim shot applied here).
So my choice with this awesome burger was a Samuel Smith (Tadcaster UK) Seasonal Ale, with a slight hop zing that rides on top of toasted grains and Christmas Ale spices. Like all Sam Smith’s, it has complexity and depth. It integrated with the sandwich just like a beer should, not overpowering the very strong flavor profile of the burger but complementing it. The Hops didn’t clash with the sauerkraut, they stayed independent. Two big flavor things working together, gotta love it.
I highly recommend that the Bass Ale drinkers in the U.S. and the Guiness drinkers (vegans, be careful – not all Guiness is vegan-friendly) check out Samuel Smith. They make a killer Nut Brown Ale and a couple of gnarly Stouts. And this burger is a favorite, when Tami made it I was knocked out. The burger and a beer are a fantastic combo.