Challenge: Vegan Andouille Sausage

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Flavourful vegan sausages are incredibly expensive here. Sure, there are loads of Cumberland and Lincolnshire sausages available. But, if you want a chorizo or Andouille sausage then you are out of pocket or out of luck. And, it’s really nice to be able to customize the flavours of them to match the dish that I’m making them for.

So, the only answer was to make my own. I was at a bit nervous, I out it off for quite awhile. Then finally, a day came when I was craving a deeply spiced jambalaya, I had all the right ingredients to make it, and I knew what I needed to do.

Challenge:

Andouille Sausage

The requirements:

Meaty

Holds its shape well when cooked

Can be pan-fried

The plan:

Adapted from a Vegan Dad recipe, it will be steamed wheat gluten, mixed with beans and spices for a more sausage like texture and shaped using tinfoil.

_MG_8065 The verdict:

Although they aren’t pretty at first, they taste fantastic. The flavour continues to build slowly as you chew and ends with a great heat. They pan fry very well, they turn out lovely and crispy. They are definitely meaty. The only suggestion I would make is to throw them in to sauces and soups at the end of cooking as they have a tendency to swell a bit when cooked slowly in liquid (not unpleasantly so, they just become a bit softer).

You could really use any combination of spices that you would like to create the vegan sausage of your dreams (if you dream of such things)!

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Challenge: Andouille Sausage
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cold vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1¼ cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 bay leaves, finely crumbled
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Before mixing your ingredients, get your steaming apparatus ready (I just used a vegetable steamer insert in a sauce pan).
  2. Bring water to a full boil.
  3. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.
  4. Have ready 4 sheets of tin foil ready to wrap sausages in.
  5. In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until no whole ones are left.
  6. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork.
  7. Knead for about 5 minutes until quite firm.
  8. Divide dough into 4 even parts.
  9. Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log.
  10. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll.
  11. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming.
  12. Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 45 minutes.
  13. Remove and allow to cool in tinfoil until ready to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge: Vegan Ginger Beef and Broccoli

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There are few dishes as synonymous with Alberta summers as ginger beef. Every festival you go to you’ll see lines as long as the eye can see all waiting to get their hands on a big plate full of crispy beef strips drenched in a sticky, spicy and gingery sauce all flecked with red chillies.

I’ve always looked a bit longingly at it waiting for a vegetarian version to make its way to “beef country”.  And, although it never materialized in a plant based version while I was in Alberta, it’s now being featured in my kitchen in Brighton! Not exactly the same ambience as a summer festival in your bare feet, but the meal is amazing. It hits all the right notes. And, as a bonus,  you don’t have to wait 30 minutes in line for the port-a-potty.

The challenge:

Ginger beef with broccoli

The plan:

The meaty strips are made from a new seitan recipe I have been working on where the seitan is baked instead of simmered. It takes very little time to make and you can make your own beef-y and chicken-y strips in bulk and freeze them for later meals!

But you can use any home-made or store bought seitan.

The sauce is made thick and sticky by reducing golden syrup and spices together before tossing with the rest of the mix.

Although the original recipe doesn’t have broccoli in it, what recipe isn’t made better by the addition of greens?!

_MG_8016 The result:

Amazing. The strips turned out perfectly meaty, the sauce was sticky, sweet and spicy and the dish worked incredibly well together. Eating it with the sun shining in brought back many memories of the barefooted summers of my childhood.

Ben’s Verdict:

Yup, loved this one as well. Thick sticky sweet sauce, well textured strips of ‘meat’ and I even enjoyed the contrasting crunch of the vegetables. I would happily eat this at home, at a restaurant, at a festival in Western Canada or cold for lunch the next day- which I actually did.

I am coming to love seitan for its taste as well as its cool name. SDLogotiltRed

 

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Challenge: Ginger Beef and Broccoli
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (125 g) vital wheat gluten
  • 3 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP flavourless oil (sunflower, canola etc)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water or low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (60 ml) low sodium vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (60 g) all purpose (plain flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 red chili peppers, diced
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) golden syrup
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut in to florets
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 - 5 tablespoons oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
  2. Mix gluten and nutritional yeast in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, mix water or vegetable stock, soy sauce, and oil.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients evenly, and stir together making the ball of gluten.
  5. Turn out on to a counter and knead for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Flatten the ball of gluten and cut the gluten into thin strips.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment and and place the strips on the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  9. Since the gluten will have risen in the oven slightly, cut your gluten in to your desired size for this recipe.
  10. Mix together soy sauce, ½ cup of vegetable broth and rice wine vinegar.
  11. Add strips to liquid and marinate for 20 minutes.
  12. Add flour and salt to a large zip top bag.
  13. Remove strips from marinade and add to bag. Shake to coat strips thoroughly.
  14. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the strips until crispy and golden brown. You may have to do this in small batches to avoid over crowding the pan.
  15. Remove strips and set aside.
  16. To make the sauce, add the marinade from earlier to a small pot along with sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red chilis and golden syrup. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until it begins to reduce.
  17. Add onion to a heated pan, cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the broccoli and spring onions.
  18. Once broccoli is lightly cooked, add strips back to pan.
  19. Pour sauce over top of the dish and toss to ensure even coating.
  20. Serve hot with rice

 

Challenge: Vegan Fried Chicken

_MG_7898 The Challenge:  

Fried Chicken

Ben’s Requirements:

  • Thick and juicy
  • Simple and crispy coating
  • Meaty

The Plan:

An adaptation of the PPK’s Chicken Stylee Seitan. I’ve never had much luck making seitan that was truly delicious instead of just passable. It has always turned out quite water logged or way too chewy for me. This recipe was amazing. The addition of chickpea flour really made a big difference in the final texture of the fried chicken. For the coating , I decided to go with a cornmeal breading rather than batter.

The Result:

Surprisingly fantastic. The chicken cutlet was meaty and juicy without being too oddly chewy. The flavour of seitan wasn’t overpowering. The colour wasn’t super appealing as it was sort of a beige-brown, but you can’t have everything! The breading was crispy, flavourful and would lend itself really well to other spices and coatings (such as buffalo).

Ben’s Verdict:

I love these challenges. I mean, I love coming home to a beautiful dinner everyday, don’t get me wrong, but the challenges are extra special to me.  These are dishes that I have loved for a long time and usually had to cook for myself.  I just feel a bit sorry for you reading as you don’t get to eat it like I do!

Jen is very specific and particular about the details of the dish; I have to identify all the different elements from the taste to the texture and smell because being vegan of course she cannot eat the original. And she always delivers.

So this dish was exactly what I asked for. Meaty, juicy, and with a tasty coating. Perfect.  Easily as good as any bread crumbed chicken breast that I have made for myself. And even better, I could see it easily being adapted to a Wiener Shnitzel type flat escalope or a KFC style spicy coated chicken piece.  Not only has ‘Saitan’ got an excellent name, but it delivers on taste and texture too.

I would also like a quick shout about the sides to this dish too, as this is where the ‘meal’ is made. I would struggle making onion gravy and mashed potatoe as good as this without butter but these were perfect, and I hope Jen releases her secrets on this soon too.

I ate at least three servings worth of this dish. If you have a hungry meat eating male in your life and if you make this, then I can guarantee that he will do the same.

Meateater tested Vegan approved

 

 

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Need I say more?

Challenge: Fried Chicken
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 TBSP vegan worcestershire
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 TBSP vegan worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar
  • ¾ plain flour
  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with the broth, garlic and bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil.
  2. While it's heating, mix together the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, spices and chickpea flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add broth, soy sauce, and, olive oil.
  4. Knead for 3-5 minutes. It will become quite tough, but keep going. The end product will be so much better for it.
  5. Divide into 8 even pieces.
  6. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Stretch each piece into a cutlet, pressing the cutlet into the counter to smooth the surface.
  8. Once your broth is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer.
  9. Add the gluten pieces and partially cover pot so that steam can escape.
  10. Let simmer (try not to let it boil at all) for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
  11. The cutlets will almost double in size during cooking, so keep that in mind when choosing a pot size.
  12. Once done, remove seitan and allow to cool.
  13. While cooling, prepare your breading.
  14. Mix soy milk and vinegar together in a shallow bowl, allow to sit.
  15. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic and paprika in another bowl.
  16. Heat oil up in a pot. There should about 2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pot. You'll know it's done when you insert the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and little bubbles form around instantly. Oil should not be smoking.
  17. While oil is heating up, take cooled seitan pieces and coat in soy milk mixture and then dredge in the flour mixture until well coated.
  18. Place coated seitan pieces 2 at a time (depending on the size of your pot) in the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes of each side until golden brown.
  19. Serve!