Plant Based Meats

Chef and cookbook author, Robin Asbell just finished her new book, “Plant Based Meats.” She stopped to talk more about the cookbook and how to make Basic Beef Seitan.

Basic Beef Seitan

This versatile recipe can be made as one big roast, or chunks of stewed beef. It can be simmered on the stovetop, cooked in a slow cooker, or pressure cooked in an instant pot. Once it’s done, you can cut it in chunks for stir fry, and stews, or you can grind it to make a pretty great ground beef.

Copyrighted and reprinted with permission from Plant Based Meats, Hearty, High Protein Recipes for Vegans, Flexitarians and Curious Carnivores (Countryman Press)
Yield: 2 1/2 pounds
Mixing time 15 minutes, cooking times vary by method

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup tapioca
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup mock beef broth powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste

In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, tapioca, chickpea flour, and onion powder. In a medium bowl, combine the water, broth powder, oil, tamari, and tomato paste. Whisk until smooth. Stir into the gluten mixture, and knead when it becomes stiff. Form into a log about 9 inches long.

Stovetop: Pour the broth ingredients into a 4 quart pot or dutch oven with a lid. Add the seitan log, and if needed, more water to cover the log, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, just bubbling but not boiling. Cover the pot and cook for about 2 hours, turning the seitan midway. The internal temp should reach 180 F.
Instant Pot: Place 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet and a dried mushroom in the Instant Pot. For chunks: Mix the seitan and tear or cut the dough into bite-sized pieces, dropping them into the pot as you go. Secure the lid and made sure the steam vent is on Sealing. Set to pressure cook on high pressure, and use Manual to set the timer for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes is up, let the cooker release pressure naturally for 10 minutes.

Let the seitan cool, then separate the pieces.
For the roast, pressure cook for 40 minutes.

Slow cooker: Use 2 cups broth and cook on low for 6 hours.

Take off the heat, drain the seitan and let cool. Save the broth to use in other applications. Use for making ground seitan by cutting in chunks and grinding in the food processor, pulsing on and off until a ground beefy texture is achieved. For stir-fry beef, rip the seitan in pieces, pulling it to find a grain and make pieces that resemble meat.

Seitan Ground Beef Tacos

If you thought taco night was a thing of the past, rejoice. These tacos put your ground seitan to good use, so you can cook these up just the way you used to with a pound of ground beef and a packet of mystery additives and spices.

Copyrighted and reprinted with permission from Plant Based Meats, Hearty, High Protein Recipes for Vegans, Flexitarians and Curious Carnivores (Countryman Press)
Yield: 1 pound, 1 3/4 cups
20 minutes

1 1/2 cups ground seitan
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons sherry
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
8 hard or soft taco shells
Lettuce, tomatoes, sliced jalapenos

Prepare or thaw seitan. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for a few seconds, then add the onions and stir. Saute, stirring, until softened. Add the tomato paste and sherry and stir to mix well. Add the smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, smoked salt and tamari and mix. Add the seitan and stir to mix and coat the crumbles thoroughly. Keep stirring until thick and browned, and heated through.
Serve in wraps or tacos.

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