Sunday, February 7, 2010
Vegan Braciole Made with Beefy Seitan – recipe in process
Today was an experiment in the kitchen day. My hubby used to love braciole and has been waiting for me to make a vegan version for a very long time. Today I decided to give it a go. What was the worth thing that happened, it didn’t turn out? No big deal, it wouldn’t be my first or last mistake.
For those of you that aren’t Italian, braciole is traditionally veal or beef that is stuffed and cooked in marinara sauce. My normal stuffing was golden raisins, pine nuts, parsley, parmesan, pancetta and breadcrumbs. Obviously I left out the parmesan and pancetta. I also decided to leave out the bread crumbs since it isn’t E2L friendly. When I looked at my original recipe it also called for egg, which I could have substituted with pureed tofu. But I opted not to use that today. I added a few julienned sun-dried tomatoes for additional savory flavor. The entire stuffing amounted to approximately 1 ½ cups.
I used an entire recipe of my beefy seitan for the veal, but with a few changes. This time I omitted the oil and replaced the bread crumbs with cooked quinoa. I have to admit I was surprised that it worked so well. The texture was still nice and tender. Quinoa will be used in my seitan going forward.
The part of the process that had me a little stumped was how to make the meat in a roll, but get the interior of the seitan to cook completely without making the outside tough. I decided to try searing the outside of the seitan on my cast iron griddle pan or both sides and then steam baking it for a while (30 minutes) before stuffing it and baking it more. I used the cooking method from the beefy seitan cutlets.
I learned a few things during the process:
• It is really difficult to move an 11 by 14 inch raw seitan slab to a hot cast iron griddle pan by yourself. Next time I will elicit help, or use my metal pizza peel, which my brilliant hubby recommended after the fact.
• Also difficult is flipping the partially cooked seitan.
• Baking the seitan for 30 minutes is not enough to make it easy to roll up with the stuffing. Next time I will start with 45 minutes before stuffing.
• It is important to both tie the rolled seitan and then wrap it in the aluminum foil before putting it back into the oven to bake for another 45 minutes. Using both the ties and aluminum foil keeps it together while baking. The ties make it easier to cut if you decided to speed up the process half way through cooking (which I did).
• Quinoa makes a wonderful substitute for breadcrumb in the seitan.
• If the braciole in its whole form and is taking too long to cook it can be cut into serving sizes and baked as slices to speed up the cooking.
The results were quite tasty, but this was definitely a bit unwieldy to deal with by myself. Next time I will make involtini instead (individual servings of rolled stuffed “meat”).
I am not posting the specific directions since I wasn’t taking notes this time when I cooked. I knew this was going to take me a time or two to get the cooking method down. However, I have a good start on it and will be playing around with a few changes in the coming weeks since I now know that I can make tender seitan without bread crumbs.