I love seitan. I've been making this stuff since I saw my first package of gluten mix from Harvest Direct, then found vital wheat gluten in bulk in The Mail Order Catalog and have been ordering it from there ever since.
I have so many recipes for the stuff in all sorts of flavors, but for decades I made it the plain, semi-chicken flavor simmered in a pot of water, because recipes that claimed to make your seitan taste like corned beef, roast beef, even kielbasy, well, didn't.
Then I discovered Bryanna Clark Grogan's chickenish cutlets. And Julie Hasson's Italian sausages. And Chef Brian McCarthy's turkey roast (encrouton, of course, for the holidays).
But the main problem with all of those recipes is that they took time to make after the dough is mixed. Cutting and shaping and wrapping and steaming/baking/frying. I wanted something as simple as old fashioned simmered seitan that was even easier to put together on days when I feel sluggish (like now, after almost 2 months of passing the flu back and forth).
Enter this recipe from Lazy Dave! I first read about it in a post on the PPK forums, where the people who tried it loved it. I filed it away to try in the future, a time that never came until the other day. Life has been hectic around here, between the flu and the impending death of the elderly relative I've mentioned in previous posts. She's been hospitalized twice in the past month, and the other day she was sent back to the nursing home in kidney failure and now receiving hospice/palliative care. Since my husband and I are about the only family she has left and we're the ones who have been responsible for her care the past 5 years, we're also the ones who will take care of her burial and estate when she's gone. My husband's job has been crazy the past few months (Remember me mentioning mandatory overtime? That's now going to go on indefinitely.) so we're trying to get as much prepared ahead of time as we can, so that means trips to banks, phone calls to various agencies and departments, and even a trip to the funeral director to finalize the arrangements. The funeral parlor is owned by the aunt's best friend, too, so we spent a lot of time talking with her reminiscing about the fun she and the aunt had over the years. All this while I'm sitting there with a box of tissues and a bottle of hand sanitizer coughing my head off. I'm still not allowed to see the aunt because of this flu but at least yesterday the nursing supervisor on duty deemed my husband non-contagious and allowed him to spend some time with her while I was relegated to a corner of the lobby.
Anyway, I needed to make something to have on hand for quick meals grabbed and eaten on the run, and seitan sandwiches was my former go-to meal, but I didn't have any in the freezer at the moment, and since I really needed to take a nap the other day (I'm still only getting a few hours sleep each night, thanks to this cough) I wasn't able to make traditional seitan because I knew I would fall asleep with it on the stove, and that's not good. Then I remembered the seitan in the ABM recipe I had and dug it up.
Wet stuff - there was no way I was going to use an entire half cup of soy sauce! Even the lower sodium stuff has way too much sodium, so I watered it down to half strength, so 1/4 cup soy sauce and increased the water to 1 3/4 cup.
Dry stuff - And I skipped the added salt.
Those were the only changes to the ingredients.
I first started putting the ingredients into my Mini-Zoji bread machine and then thought this may be too much dough for the machine and dragged out my old full-sized Oster ABM. Next time I think I *will* use the Zoji, because the seitan loaf really wasn't that high at all, maybe 2-3 inches, sort of like a slab of over-cooked corned beef on Saint Patrick's Day. Here's a photo of half the log with some chunks I couldn't slice any thinner. The chunks will get chopped up smaller and tossed into a pasta meal later in the week.
One more change I'll make next time I make this recipe (And I WILL make it again) is to use the Light setting on the ABM. Dave used the Medium setting so I did, too, but fresh out of the pan the crust was so hard my sharpest bread knife had a hard time cracking through it. After spending a night in a ziplock bag it softened a bit, but it would be much better with a softer crust to start with.
As far as taste goes, my husband loves it and made himself three sandwiches. He said if I didn't tell him it was seitan he would have thought it real turkey. I didn't think it tasted anything like turkey because all I could taste was the soy sauce. I think that was all in my head, so to speak, knowing how much of that stuff was in there. In fact, I was reminded of it all afternoon and all night, as I'm so bloated my wedding ring and shoes are all tight on me this morning and my mouth has been so dry that glass after glass of water still hasn't quenched my thirst. But of course, some of that may be because of the flu and my constant coughing and frequent sneezes, and another part could be that we did a lot of running around yesterday and the only time I drank anything was when I took my medications in the morning. I wasn't going to be stuck in a car an hour from home and no clean restrooms in sight with a full bladder!
Saint Patrick's Day is fast approaching. Maybe instead of the cabbage dish I have planned I'll tackle Brian's corned beef seitan again. It's another one of those simmering seitan recipes, so I hope I have some degree of health back by then!