12 November 2010

Seitan Fail = Chili Success

Since adopting veganism around two years ago, I have fully embraced the fact that it continually encourages my development of multiple perspectives, trying new foods, and adapting to sometimes animal-unfriendly environments or situations.  Adjustments in the food aspect of my life has been particularly enjoyable, fueling my creativity while usually filling my belly with exceptional eats, although sometimes (and thankfully so) I don't necessarily need to work very hard in order to enjoy a satisfying vegan meal; when I'm out and about, it's all about making conscious choices, which are made easier by the day as veganism seems to become more widely recognized and accepted, at least by the marketing powers that be.

My food choices when back in my own kitchen are another story.  Here, I am left to my own devices and can more or less throw together any meal I happen to want--within reason, of course, and assuming various conditions permit a little experimentation (e.g., budget, supply, time).  And when I have that sudden desire to recreate something I enjoyed in my pre-vegan days that also happens to have no available vegan substitute, resolution to the open-ended question of what to cook up next narrows considerably, and I have yet another goal in mind.  Along those lines, I recently decided to finally attempt a vegan meat analog that might adequately mimic a particular type of sausage my family (all of whom are still omnivores) have enjoyed as a weekend breakfast item all my life.  I'll go into more detail when I've achieved more of the desired results.  Although I've successfully made seitan "sausages" multiple times, everything about the one I'm currently trying to create makes the task more difficult than anticipated.  This results of this first attempt weren't terrible by any means--just not really at all like the product I wanted to achieve.  But I will keep trying and let you know if it ever works out.
Because the seitan "sausage" was still very much edible, I decided to incorporate some of it into a hearty chili.  I had  planned to make chili this week and am glad I finally did, because chili is a bit of a pick-me-up; it's a belly- and heart-warming ode to a food I've always loved.  I consulted Vegan with a Vengeance for a recipe to use as a guideline, selecting the very appropriate Chili sin Carne al Mole.  I had somehow neglected to try this particular recipe, despite that aforementioned fondness for chili and the fact that the book is one of the pioneer tomes in my personal vegan cookbook library.  I didn't end up following the recipe exactly as written, halving the total yield and estimating and substituting some ingredients (namely, simmered black beans for pinto beans and fresh tomatoes for tinned).  The chili was fantastic anyway--deep, rich, savory, stick-to-your-ribs goodness with kick of spice and hint of sweetness.  The molasses addition was something I had never thought to use in chili, but I'm glad I did.  I enjoyed the chili with steamed rice and crisp oven potatoes, because I couldn't decide between chili over rice and chili fries.  Needless to say, compromise was a tasty choice.

8 comments:

  1. 100% with you on the uses of failed seitan. All sins are forgiven in the Cuisinart...love the look of your potatoes, by the way! That Chili sin carne al mole is my absolute favorite chili recipe. It is blackish, but the taste is out of this world, I agree.

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  2. Tiffany,
    You are a most eloquent writer. I think you should write a book.
    -Aimee

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  3. mmm. It might be worth getting VwaV just for this recipe. Chili is intimidating to me because of the long cooking process, but it's so worth it.

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  4. Seitan can be tricky... I only tried to make it for the first time recently, and it came out super chewy. Definitely needs some work... But I wish I thought to use it in chili, that's brilliant!

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  5. You can often redeem "failed" seitan that gets too bready and dry by dropping into boiling water for a short time. It then turns all seitan-y again. Putting it into the chili probably had a similar effect — it looks really good.

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  6. Good save with the seitan! Chili is one of those things you make differently every time and some random ingredient makes it wonderful.

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  7. Tiffany,
    You are a most eloquent writer. I think you should write a book.
    -Aimee

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  8. Seitan can be tricky... I only tried to make it for the first time recently, and it came out super chewy. Definitely needs some work... But I wish I thought to use it in chili, that's brilliant!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)