Sunday, January 17, 2010

Seitan Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore (or Cacciatora if you are using proper Italian) was always a family favorite at our house. I loved it because it was easy and tasty. Additionally it contained pasta. My Italian DNA loves anything with pasta. Is it the healthiest thing? Well … not so much. However, some things are just too important to give up completely. So tonight we decided to have Cacciatore made with seitan.

My hubby loves my steam baked seitan cutlets. They are great used as a substitute for chicken breasts but they also work in dishes like this that contain sliced chicken. In order for them to hold their shape you need to add them at the end of cooking, as they will begin to fall apart if simmered too long in the sauce.

Cacciatore means hunters style in Italian. Pollo alla Cacciatora is a dish that is simple braised chicken with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and pancetta. I have always made this dish with white wine (which I think is traditional). Sage is something that I added for its muskiness. I love the earthiness that sage adds to the dish. It is also good with white beans in the dish. Sometimes I serve if over polenta, but my family prefers pasta so that is what we had tonight. Here is what we had for dinner with a big green salad.

Seitan Cacciatore
Makes 6 main dish servings


1 cup dried mixed mushrooms
2 cups water
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking so allicin can develop)
¾ cup dry white wine (like pinot grigio)
28 ounces of diced canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
½ tablespoon fresh sage leaves, finely minced
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
¼ cup black olives, thinly sliced
1 pinch crushed red peppers
3 seitan cutlets, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
vegan parmesan – optional
1 pound whole-wheat pasta
salt and pepper, to taste


Combine the dried mushrooms and water and microwave until hot (three minutes in my microwave). Allow the mushrooms to sit in the water for 30 minutes to soften.

Fill a large pot with 6 quarts of water to cook the pasta. Bring the water to a boil and add a tablespoon of kosher salt before you cook the pasta.

Cook the onions and garlic in white wine until they are soft. Then add the tomatoes, oregano, sage, rosemary, olives and crushed red peppers and simmer for 30 minutes while the mushrooms are softening.

Strain the mushrooms soaking liquid through a cheesecloth lined fine wire mesh strainer. Place the soaking liquid in the tomato sauce pan. Chop the mushrooms so that they are bite size and add them to the tomato sauce pan.

When you toss the pasta into salted water to cook add the seitan cutlets and red bell pepper to the tomato sauce and cook to heat both through.

Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce pan and toss to coat with sauce. Taste the pasta for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

Top the pasta with fresh minced parsley and vegan parmesan for garnish. This dish would be great with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top if you want to take the taste over the top.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 452.12
Calories From Fat (5%) - 24.44

Total Fat - 2.79g
Saturated Fat - 0.48g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 443.91mg
Potassium - 662.24mg
Total Carbohydrates - 79.7g
Fiber - 10.6g
Sugar - 5.55g
Protein - 26.9g


This is a very mild dish that would be appropriate for people that don’t like a lot of “heat” in their food. If you like things spicy add more crushed red pepper flakes. Had I been making this just for the hubby and I it would have had much more heat.

Sage, rosemary and wine give this dish a heady earthy aroma. If you like fresh sage you will enjoy this dish. I added the red bell peppers at the very end of cooking to keep as much vitamin C in the dish as possible. Since vitamin C is heat sensitive I try to cook foods that contain a lot of C as little as possible.

Traditional Italian pasta dishes contain a small amount of sauce (similar to a dressing on salad). If you like your pasta to have more sauce I would suggest that you add 14 ounces of tomato sauce to the pot, at a minimum.

Each serving of this dish contained approximately 1,175IU of vitamin A, 50mg of vitamin C, 140mg of calcium, 6mg of iron, 85mcg of folate, 50mcg of vitamin K, 320mg of phosphorus, 150mg of magnesium, and 15mcg of selenium.

Unrelated note:

Tomorrow is a little up in the air at my house. I hope to be home to spend some quality relaxing time in the kitchen, however the universe may be conspiring against me. At a minimum I hope to get the final recipe posted on the Ad Hoc site from last week. With a little luck there will be more than one post tomorrow.

I hope you are all having a great evening. Talk to you tomorrow


  1. Hi Alicia,

    Do you always make your own seitan, or can you purchase it at the grocery store?

  2. Anna,

    I always make my own seitan, but they do sell it at my local grocery store. It is in the refrigerator case. I think the brand is called White Wave. Can't tell you how it is since I have't tried it.

    We first had it at Chinese restaurant and since we liked it I starting making it at home. Seitan is very, very easy to make, and much cheaper when you do. Not to mention it doesn't contain any additives or preservatives when you make it yourself. The homemade seitan freezes well too. My favorite thing about making seitan is that you can flavor it any way you choose. I hope you give it a try. I think you will be surprised by how easy it is.


  3. Alicia, you never cease to amaze me with these fabulous looking dishes. I think I need you to come out to where I live and open up a restaurant!

  4. Heather,

    You are just too nice! Thank you for the compliment. I really appreciate it. :)

    I hope you are feeling better this morning,

  5. The thought of slicing up a steamed seitan cutlet is like sacriledge to me. I haven't seen a recipe on your site for making a large quantity/piece of seitan that can be used just for slicing and dicing. Is there one?

  6. Shenandoah,

    I slice the cutlets and add them to dishes all the time. The hubby prefers them to my other seitan recipes so these are the ones I normally have on hand. There are a few seitan roasts on the blog, but the hubby prefers the cutlets now so that is what I typically use.


  7. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing your recipe :-)


  8. Courtney,

    You are very welcome.

    BTW, you were right. I am not completely used to salsa on salad in place of dressing. :)


  9. Thanks for the recipe...sounds yummy.

  10. Rose,

    The sauce is also good over wheat berries or millet, much healthier but not at all tradtional. ;) That is normally how I make it for myself.



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