I love a good dinner party. Nothing combines my two favorite pastimes - eating and drinking - quite as succinctly. In the middle of one such evening of debauchery, my boo was whipping up his famous chicken-with-homemade-noodle-soup to stave off the cold when it struck me to invite our friend/neighbor/resident drag queen Dallas Dubois for a bowl and a glass of bubbly.
Now, as an aspiring chef, one would think it'd be in my best interest to keep my friend's dietary restrictions straight, but girl, let me tell you: in this day and age of Celiac-Sprue, gluten intolerant, no carb, candida free, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, I can't keep all of these bitches' needs straight! You can imagine my dismay when Dallas had to remind me she was a vegetarian, for the umpteenth time; not only could she not enjoy our soup du'jour but she was battling a flu, and couldn't join in our revelry regardless.
My Prosecco addled brain then proceeded to promise the under the weather queen that I would personally whip up a batch of my proprietary Seitan Noodle Soup to help her recover. So the next morning, through a slight hangover fog, I ran to our local hippy grocer to pick up the fixings for that aptly named vegetarian protein; seitan. Seitan (also known as mock duck) is a wheat based food product made by kneading gluten and water into a dough, then simmering in vegetable stock. It can be sliced and used like deli meat, or smothered in BBQ sauce for a southern treat or sliced thinly into meat like noodles for soup. Plus it's just fun to say Seitan!
Although Ms Dubois was already feeling much better, she came over that night with a bottle of wine and an appetite for soup. Apparently it was a hit as even my meat eating partner declared it delicious. And as dinner parties at The Curious Cook's apartment often do, it turned into a rager and eventually moved Viva! to dance off the noodles and wine. The recipe for a successful vegetarian dinner party (or gift for an ailing drag queen) is as follows:
Seitan is an ancient meat free protein made from vital wheat gluten that has a great chewy texture and works well in so many vegetarian/vegan dishes.
10 oz vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs olive oil
1.Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, and in a separate smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients.
2.Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and pour the wet into the dry ingredients, knead for 5 minutes or until a stiff smooth dough forms adding more broth if necessary.
3.Meanwhile, bring 1 gallon of vegetable stock to a boil in a large stock pot. When then dough is done kneading, form into a loaf for even cooking and simmer in the broth for 30 minutes or until firm.
4.Cool seitan in broth to keep moist, slice and use as a meat replacement in your favorite recipes.
1 recipe homemade seitan, thinly sliced like egg noodles
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup quartered crimini mushrooms
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tbs dried chamomile
1 large sprig thyme
1 large bay leaf
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup petite green peas
1 gal vegetable stock
2 tbs olive oil
to taste salt and pepper
2 tbs flour
1.In a large stock pot over medium heat, sweat the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic and spices in the olive oil until translucent, or about 10 minutes.
2.Add the flour and cook 2 minutes before adding the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and add seitan and peas to finish. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
3.Enjoy on a cold winter's night with your meat free friends.