The usual challenge of Christmas/Winter Solstice dinner approaches. My parents are visiting. My mum is practically vegan but isn't that keen on nuts. My dad eats meat (not in our house though) but doesn't like soya. Phil will eat anything vegan but would like something a bit different. I would rather make something than buy it ready made and most of all, I want to keep everyone happy.
Seitan to the rescue! We've been continuing to experiment with wheat gluten recipes recently and happened upon the rather excellent Chick Pea Cutlets from the large delicious pages of the Veganomicon recipe book. Using this as a base, I wanted to create a stuffed roast. I adapted the seasonings, ingredients and measurements slightly and then threw in the idea of a stuffing rolled up inside the seitan mix. At the last minute I remembered a jar of rosemary jelly I had 'loitering with intent' at the back of our store cupboard. That might add some 'zig-a-zig-ah' so in it went on top of the stuffing snuggly rolled up within the seitan.
The result was pretty tasty, textural and tempting and got a few mmm's from Phil's corner during our experimental Sunday roast. I think it will make it on this years festive table but much is the way with me, I will continue to tweak the recipe here and there in the meantime. Just sat here typing this now I'm thinking 'why didn't I use a bit of yeast extract in the water/stock' and 'hey, how about using cranberry sauce instead of rosemary jelly?'. As Phil always says, I never use the same recipe twice so here (for the moment) I give you my current offering. Try, change, experiment and if you come up with a winner, feel free to pitch in with an improvement. I'd love to hear from you. Just make sure it's before the Winter Solstice!
Stuffed Seitan Roast
1 (400g) tin chickpeas
1 cup breadcrumbs (I blended 1 big slice of bread for this)
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons rapeseed (or other nice) oil
1/2 cup water or stock
1 packet (85g) stuffing mix (I used a basic sage and onion that didn't have palm oil)
Few spoonfuls to taste of Rosemary Jelly (I used one from Bay Tree)
Make up the stuffing mix according to the packet instructions and set aside.
Blend the chickpeas in a food processor until blitzed. Add the breadcrumbs, wheat gluten, herbs and garlic and give it all another blitz to mix.
Add in the soya sauce, mustard (psst.......don't tell Phil I used mustard as he says he doesn't like it but actually I use it a lot and he never knows) and oil and give it another blitz to mix.
Finally add the water or broth for a final good old blitz and mix. After a little while you should notice that the mixture starts to 'ball' up like a proper dough. At this point turn the mixture out into a bowl and give it some human loving in the way of a little kneading. You should notice the 'strings and strands' of the gluten at this point. That means life is all good in the world of seitan.
Grease up a baking tray and then roll the seitan dough to about an A4 size of paper (I did this directly onto the baking tray). Add a 'sausage' of the stuffing mix down the middle of the seitan and then dollop on spoonfuls of the rosemary jelly here and there; as much or as little as your instinct deals you will taste good.
Roll the seitan edges together into a roll to tuck in the stuffing well, sealing the edges by pressing together. Turn the roll carefully over so that the seam is on the bottom (makes it look more purdy!) and then cut some slits in the top of the roll. Coat the top with a little oil if you wish.
Bake it at around 200 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Our oven is ancient so best just keep an eye on the roll to make sure it browns but doesn't go too crispy.
Enjoy and experiment!