I’m very big on traditions and keeping them alive. It’s why I’ve always been determined to make recipes that make me feel I’m not missing out on anything during the holiday season (my favorite time of the year!). Whether it’s making a vegan Thanksgiving or Christmas roast, I want the entire experience of it. I want the slow cooking in the oven, I want the delicious smells filling up my kitchen, I want a beautiful meaty centerpiece that you make all those lovely Thanksgiving sides for.
I also love the day to be stress free. That means that although I’m cooking, I also have many of my dishes prepared ahead of time so I can hang out with the people I love, or watch some Christmas movies, set a nice table, and my yearly tradition of going for a very long walk with the dogs. This recipe is perfect, because not only do you get a roast, a side and the quickest gravy from the same recipe and at the same time, but you can make everything one or even two days ahead of time and simply re-heat the roast and veggies in the oven until warmed through, and the gravy in a pot or pan.
This scrumptious roast goes great with mashed potatoes, with a puddle of the gravy on top of course (wink!), some roasted asparagus or brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole or any other vegan goodies you love as your side dishes.
If you’ve never made seitan before, here’s the deal: it’s basically like making a cake. You mix wet ingredients, you mix dry ingredients, then you put them together and cook. We use lots of spices and ingredients within the wet and dry mixes to infuse a ton of flavor, but if there’s a spice you don't have or don’t like as much, feel free to adjust and make this your own.
Enjoy the printable, video and recipe below and I hope you have the most delicious, Holiday Season ahead, full of tradition and the people you love sitting around your table.
SEITAN HOLIDAY ROAST WITH CARAMELIZED APPLES AND FENNEL & THE QUICKEST GRAVY
Yield: 6 servings | Prep time: 35 minutes | Cook time: 1 & 1/2 hours
For the dry seitan mix:
2 cups wheat gluten
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1&1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, stems revoved (use a bit less if using dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the wet seitan mix:
4 cups vegetable broth
1 & 1/4 cups red wine
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
For the vegetables and gravy:
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
4 teaspoons cornstarch dilluted in a bit of water to form a slurry
250 grams (8.8 oz) mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
2. In a large pitcher or bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients for the seitan.
3. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients for the seitan mix.
4. Reserve 1 & 1/2 cups of the wet mixture and add it to a saucepan (this will be the beginning of your gravy later on).
5. Reserve another 1 & 1/2 cups of the wet mixture and add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients.
6. Mix, first using a spatula and then with your hands, until you don't see any more dry gluten and the "dough" looks like a uniform brown log. Sometimes, depending on the brand of gluten that you buy, you will still have some loose gluten, add a bit more of the wet mixture that will be left in your pitcher, only bit by bit as needed, until there is no more dry gluten visible.
7. Place the seitan dough on your cutting board and punch it or hit it with a mallet many times to activate the gluten and make the roast firmer. While pounding it make sure it is still maintaining its log shape.
8. Place it in a small to medium oven-proof roasting pan with the most uniform side of the dough down (this will be the top of your roast in the end), then pour the remaining wet mix you have in the pitcher over it so that it goes 1/2 - 3/4 of the way up the roast. If you have any wet mixture remaining, simply add it to the saucepan for the gravy.
9. Place it in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, initially.
10. In another pan, mix together the sliced fennel, apples, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper, toss and roast in the oven next to, or under, your seitan roast.
11: After the first 30 minutes of roasting the seitan have passed, remove it from the oven, carefully flip your roast in the pan and baste with the surrounding sauce. Return to the oven and roast for 45 more minutes, flippng and basting every 15 minutes. Each time you flip and baste, you can give the vegetables that are roasting a stir as well.
12. Once the entire roasting time has passed, remove the seitan from the oven.
13. Your apples and fennel will be cooked and soft at this point, but we want to broil them for a bit to caramelize them and get them golden brown. For this, raise the heat of the oven to 400ºF (205ºC) with the broiler setting on, and move the oven rack one notch higher than the center. Broil the fennel and apples for 5 - 10 minutes or until golden.
14. While the fennel and apples are caramelizing. Add any remaining liquid that is with your roast to the saucepan for the gravy, and bring it up to a boil.
15. If using the mushrooms, add them to the sauce. Let it boil for 5 minutes to reduce slightly, then add the cornstarch slurry while whisking the sauce for a few seconds until it has thickened. Remove from the heat.
16. Serve your seitan roast with the caramelized fennel and apples, your gravy, and any other holiday sides you enjoy. You can also prepare the entire recipe ahead of time, and simply re-heat the roast and vegetables in the oven until warmed through, and the sauce in a pot on the stove on low-medium heat until warmed through. Enjoy!
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