My search to find alternative food sources has lead me to seitan – which is basically the protein portion of wheat that has been flavored to mimic the taste of meat. You might not be familiar with the name, but if you have ever had mock chicken, beef, or pork at a Chinese restaurant. You have had seitan. Making it is pretty easy, but to the uninitiated it looks a little gross. In its cooked, but not finished form, my wife wanted to throw it away… Cut up and put in chili, she doesn’t know she is not eating chicken…
Making it is simple, you basically make a dough out of flour and water. Once the dough is made you rinse out the starch leaving a stringy mass of wheat gluten. You then flavor by simmering in broth and BAM – you have a passable meat substitute.
- 5 lb. bag of flour – any flour, but the more gluten the more seitan you will get
- Lots of water
- Flavorings – I used chicken broth, garlic and herb powder, soy sauce, dales meat marinade, and a large onion.
- Large bowl
- Dump the flour in the bowl and add water to make a dough. Add water in a little at a time because you do not want to make a paste.
- Once it is kneaded into a single solid ball, cover with water and let soak for 20 minutes or so. The water should be a little milky.
- Next knead the dough a little under the water, the water should get very milky. That’s the starch separating out…
- Drain into a colander and start running water over it. The water should be lukewarm and not under a lot of pressure. You want to gently rinse the start away rather than blast it apart. Knead the dough under the water and watch the dough change consistency.
- The dough will become stringy and stretchy, and I thought it looked a lot like brains… But this is how you want it to look.
- Keep kneading until the water runs clear and its one solid mass.
- At this point you need to cook your gluten. Flavorings are up to you, you can use stock or Italian seasonings, or even sausage seasonings. I saw a cool recipe for seitan pepperoni that I am going to try one day.
- Some boil the seitan until it floats, but for ease I used a slow cooker. I simply dumped in a jar of canned stock, and one onion, along with whatever cool seasonings I had in the cabinet. I cooked on high for about 2 hours and then left it on low for the rest of the night.
Right now its in my freezer, but this weekend, I am going to thaw it, cube it, and then dehydrate it for later use in white chili…Its not brain science or rocket surgery, its just a little messy kneading all that dough, but hey, if I can do it, you can too…