Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Simple...Elegant Christmas Dinner

I have never made homemade seitan before--well not the kneading, resting, rinsing, kneading, rinsing...rinsing, rinsing, etc., type of seitan.  It is very laborious and I'm not certain if it is worth it or not.  The seitan was very flavorful and would be great sliced for sandwiches or served with a fruit and cheese platter, but sliced into medallions the texture was somewhat chewy.  So the "Simple" in my title references all of the other components of the dish, but not the seitan.  It took about 3.5 hours to make the seitan from start to finish!
Demi Glace:  Is a classic French brown sauce--one of the mother sauces that I learned to make in Culinary School years ago.  Obviously the French make the sauce with meat bones, but my recipe uses only homemade vegetable stock and it is rich, glossy and delicious.  To make the sauce I added a couple tbsp of olive oil to a sauce pan, along with one cup sliced white button mushrooms and one cup sliced onion.  I cooked these until brown and caramelized and then added several cloves of crushed whole garlic.  I deglazed the pan with about a cup of red wine and added one tbsp tomato paste.  I reduced this down until almost all the wine was evaporated and then added four cups of homemade vegetable stock, along with a sprig of fresh time, a tsp of fresh rosemary leaves, one bay leaf, and a 1/4 tsp of black peppercorns.  I brought the sauce to a boil and reduced the heat to low and simmered until reduced by half.  I then strained the sauce through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids, returned the sauce to a smaller pan and then whisked in a beurre manie (equal parts butter and flour) to thicken the sauce.  Finally, I seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.   

Sherry Glazed Button Mushrooms:  I used one pound of white button mushrooms, cleaned them with a damp cloth and trimmed the stems. I heated a cast iron skillet and added a couple tbsp of olive oil and sauteed with the tops face down without stirring until golden brown.  I then turned them over and browned the other side.  Once brown I added chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and minced garlic, along with salt and pepper.  I then deglazed the pan with one cup of pale dry sherry and reduced until the mushrooms were coated and all the liquid was evaporated.  If you don't have sherry, any fortified wine will taste great:  Madeira, Marsala or Ruby Port.  

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:  I used Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into two inch chunks.  I made a cashew cream with one cup raw cashews and two cups of water blended in a VitaMix until smooth and creamy.  I roasted two whole garlic heads in the oven for about an hour until soft and caramelized.  I squeezed out the flesh of the garlic and added it to the cashew cream and blended again.  I drained the potatoes, mashed, added earth balance butter and added enough garlic cashew cream to create a smooth consistency, along with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Homemade Peppered Seitan:  Back to the kitchen to tweak this recipe further.  Again, sliced thinly and tossed with a BBQ sauce and piled high on a sandwich would be great, but still needs some refinement.
I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Holiday!  Until my next post...enjoy!


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