Mark and I visited the parental homestead, that is, my parents’ house, this weekend. While I was there I photographed a bunch of recipes from my mother’s little-used recipe box, with hopes of veganizing a few old favorites. My mother doesn’t cook, so this isn’t a very big undertaking.* Many of the recipes I grabbed are things I’m sure my mother never actually made, either. Anyway, one of my favorite meals as a kid was baked ham, which my mother and my grandmother used to make topped with pineapples. I reinvented this as baked seitan today. It turned out fairly well, although the seitan – the UnHam from Simply Heavenly! – wasn’t very “hammy” and I plan to play around with the seitan in the future. I’ll give you the recipe I used tonight in the meantime, though.
First, here is the original version of the Pineapple-Glazed Baked Ham. I talked to my mother about this recipe and she’s not sure where it originally came from and doesn’t specifically remember it being my grandmother’s, however, I am quite sure my grandmother made ham like this. My mother actually uses this recipe as well, on those extremely rare instances she takes it upon herself to bake a ham. She says the recipe may be hers, but I’ve never known my mother to invent a recipe on her own. But maybe she did!
1 8-10 lb pre-cooked ham
1 T. butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
4-6 slices pineapple
1 scant cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup catsup
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground mixed spices
Remove rind from ham; rub with butter. Rub ham with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Score fat surface in squares and place whole clove in each square. Place ham, fat side up, on rack in roaster which has been lined with enough aluminum foil to completely enclose the ham. Place pineapple over top. Boil remaining ingredients including remaining brown sugar for 5 minutes. Pour sauce over ham. Close aluminum foil over top. Bake at 300 degree oven for 2 hours, 45 minutes to 3 hours. Occasionally baste ham with sauce. Thirty minutes before end of baking time, open foil and return to oven to brown. (Heat until 130 degrees F.)
And now my version:
Pineapple-Glazed Baked Seitan
2 pounds ham-flavored seitan (a recipe follows)
1 tsp vegan margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar, divided
3 slices pineapple
scant 1/4 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup catsup
pinch ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove 1 Tbsp of the brown sugar and set aside. Place catsup, vinegar, water, ground cloves, allspice, and remaining brown sugar into a small, heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until bubbly, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, rub one teaspoon of margarine over seitan …
… then rub with the reserved tablespoon of brown sugar.
Score the seitan perpendicularly into diagonals, then stick a whole clove in the middle of each diamond.
Place the seitan onto a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to completely cover it, and place the pineapple rings on top of the seitan.
Place the seitan-filled foil into a loaf pan …
… then pour the sauce over the seitan …
… and close the foil up.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove and open the foil up, then continue baking another 30 minutes.
Remove and reserve the pineapple rings.
Remove the cloves.
Slice the seitan as you would ham.
Serve, topping with the leftover basting sauce if desired, with pineapple rings on the side.
(Recipe for the green bean dish – also from my mother’s collection – in the background coming up tomorrow!)
The verdict on this was somewhat mixed. As a “baked seitan”, it was successful, however, as “ham”, a bit less so. It tasted like seitan, not ham. I’m not sure how much I really want to mimic the flavor of ham – very real-tasting fake meat freaks me out – but I think I can come up with something more hammy than this. That said, all of the “un-meat” seitan recipes I’ve made from Simply Heavenly! are good and this was no exception. Mark said he really liked “the presentation”, and since this was my favorite meal when I was young, I liked it very much myself. Therefore I plan to make the “ham” taste a little more authentic in the future. If you go in having no hopes of ham, the following recipe is great!
(lightly adapted from Simply Heavenly!)
(Tigger of course was right on the nutritional yeast. Also, check out the new salt pig my mom gave me – I love it!)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp salt
4 cups water
1 box (about 2 1/4 cups) vital wheat gluten
1 cup chopped onion
Whisk together all ingredients except the vital wheat gluten and the chopped onions in a pressure cooker.
Place the vital wheat gluten into a medium bowl.
Remove 2 cups of the liquid from the pressure cooker and mix with the vital wheat gluten,. I just use my hands.
Add the onions and an additional 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker and set over medium high heat on the stove.
Meanwhile, form the seitan into a log shape and wrap tightly in cheesecloth.
I didn’t have any kitchen twine, so I ripped two long, thin lengths of muslin and used those to tie the ends like a Tootsie roll.
Place the wrapped “log” into the broth in the pressure cooker.
I didn’t even realize what Tigger was doing until after snapping this picture.
He is so bad!
Don’t let your cats do this.
Put the lid on the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 35 minutes. Run under cold water to bring pressure down quickly.
Remove seitan from cooker and allow to cool a little bit, then unwrap.
For lunch tomorrow, I intend to make a sandwich using several slices and some hot sauce my friend made using brown sugar that I think will go very well with the “unham”.
And finally, I’m sorry but I absolutely can not resist posting this picture.
But since you are subjected to a million pictures of Tigger “helping” me cook, here’s a glimpse at what goes on with the good cat while Tiggs and I slave away in the kitchen:
(Brachtune is also sitting on my lap as I work on this post; she helps with the reading and the computer work instead of the food.)
* By the statement that my mother does not cook, I do not mean to imply that we didn’t have a hot meal for dinner every night when I was growing up, because we did, and it was very rarely take-out from the sub shop, nor did we go to restaurants. It even regularly involved what I would term “cooking”.