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Hail Seitan! How to Make it, Use it, and Love it

So you have relatives and/or friends visiting for the weekend and you want to whip up something a little different from stew.  Seitan is a wonderful and versatile meat substitute that is easy to prepare and has a variety of uses.  Here is how you can prepare a decent-sized (and delicious!) batch of seitan, as well as how to use it in a yummy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of vital wheat gluten flour
  • 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (or “nooch” if you consider yourself hip!)
  • ½ cup of cold vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce (feel free to substitute tamari here)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic either pressed or grated on a microplane grater

For the simmering broth:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce or tamari

Now onto the part where you get your hands dirty!

  1. Fill a stock pot with water, broth, and soy sauce.  Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. While that is going, in a large bowl, mix together the wheat gluten and nooch flakes.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your soy sauce/tamari, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and the cold veggie broth.
  4. Pour this mixture into the larger bowl while stirring with a wooden spoon, ensuring that most of the moisture has been absorbed and is partially clumped with the dry ingredients.
  5. Knead for about 3 minutes until what you have resmembles a large, sponge-like ball of elastic dough.
  6. Divide this into three equal pieces with a knife and then knead again, stretching them out just a little bit.  Let these rest until your broth has come to a full boil.  Then, slowly and carefully, place the uncooked seitan into the pot.
  7. Bring your broth down to a light simmer.
  8. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
  9. Turn the heat off and remove the lid, and let it sit for 15 minutes
  10. Remove (with tongs, preferably) from broth and place in a strainer or collander until the seitan is cool enough to be handled.
  11. Slice and use as desired.

TIPS:

  1. If the broth came to a boil during your mixing and kneading, feel free to bring it down to a simmer for the time being, then return it to a boil before you place the three pieces of seitan into the pot.
  2. Do NOT boil the seitan unless you are planning on making fake brains.
  3. It’s always a good idea to saute whatever you’re planning to use for around five minutes in a skillet.  This will ensure that your seitan will have a texture that is crispy on the outside, but tender on the inside.  Also, if you use a cast-iron pot, even better, because that will give the seitan a great charred flavor to it.

Here are some great uses for your seitan:

  1. Seitan Wellington With a Creamy Spinach Sauce
  2. Seitan and Mushroom Bourguignon
  3. Vegan Spetsofai (Greek Stew With Seitan Sausage and Peppers)
  4. “Chicken”, Green Chili and Hominy Posole
  5. Moroccan Potato Salad with Corn and Kale

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