Sauerkraut Noodles with Seitan

Every October 6th my father emails me to wish me a happy German-American Day. And every October 6th at least one food blog reminds me it’s National Noodle Day. So for dinner tonight, obviously I was having German noodles, right? The only trouble was the noodles involved in German dishes are always egg noodles, and even if I found a non-eggy noodle I thought would suffice, I’ve been eschewing the heavy dinners I feared anything “German noodly” would turn out to be. So I went browsing around Wegmans looking for a wheat-alternative noodle that would help me make a lighter dish. I found this rice spaghetti, which are absolutely, positively nowhere near being German. Nonetheless, I decided to try them. You could absolutely be much more authentic and use wide wheat noodle, although if you are vegan, you’ll probably end up having to use linguine or something similar.

Sauerkraut Noodles with Seitan

1 1/2 cups chopped seitan (I like to make a big batch on the weekend and freeze it in smaller portions)
1 cup vegan “beef” broth
3 Tbsp German mustard
2 Tbsp vinegar – I used malt, but really any kind would be okay
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/4 tsp celery seed
1 white onion, sliced into slivers
14 oz sauerkraut
2 Tbsp vegan sour cream (optional)
noodles of your choice, cooked unless you are using rice noodles like me

Whisk together the broth, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, caraway seeds, chili pepper flakes, and celery seeds in a medium bowl. Chop the seitan and add to the broth. Let it marinade for a while, say, half an hour or so (or much longer in the refrigerator).

The directions on my rice spaghetti said to soak it in water for two minutes before cooking. If you are using any other noodles, cook them as directed and set aside.

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven and add the onions. Cook until they begin to get soft.

Drain the seitan, reserving the marinade.

Add the seitan to the onions and cook until the seitan begins to brown.

Stir in the sauerkraut. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any homemade, though I do have a pot fermenting that will be ready in a couple of weeks, so I had to make do with an authentic German brand from Wegmans.

Add the broth and the sour cream. I’m not sure the sour cream added that much flavor to the final dish so I wouldn’t go out of my way to include it next time.

CAT INTERLUDE. I have THIS whining at me the entire time I’m cooking anything:

I swear, that is SO like Tigger!

If you are using regular cooked noodles, boil off the broth a bit, or perhaps thicken it with a bit of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. I, however, needed to finish cooking my now-soaked rice noodles, which were softened, but not al dente. So I gently stirred in the noodles, lowered the heat a bit, covered, and let the noodles cook for 5 to 10 minutes. My original plan was to bake this dish like a casserole, but I wasn’t sure if the rice noodles would go soggy before everything else was heated through, so I kept it on the stovetop. The noodles stayed al dente.

And that’s all there was to it. I can’t figure out if that rice spaghetti was being marketed towards an Asian crowd (it seems proud to be a product of Singapore and I did find it in the Asian section) or a gluten-free crowd (it’s labelled as such) or what, exactly. I think it would seem more natural in an Asian dish, but then, I eat a lot of rice noodles in Asian dishes so maybe that’s just what I expect. You won’t get an experience like the European egg noodles that come to mind when you think “German noodle dish”, but I think I felt a little less fat after dinner than I would have had I used heavier noodles. Mark really liked this; he had three servings and informed me it was “elite”. So I don’t know, maybe my German ancestors would have found this meal absurd, but it was tasty and it’s hard to argue against something when you have people going back for thirds.

As I mentioned in my last post, we released some more raccoons a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a glimpse:

I think this one looks like he’s picking a lock…which by the way would be a great profession for a raccoon if he were human, and not just because they have built-in masks. I think that’s why I find this picture so hilarious.

Back inside, we have a few younger raccoons who will be over-wintering with us or who will be released around January. What is this one doing?

Gnawing on my camera strap, that’s what. If you want to know what kind of person I am, I’m the kind of person who will give a raccoon my camera strap when asked. I also give them my shoes, which they find just as fascinating.

Like I’m going to turn THIS face down.

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Simple Seitan Stew

I tend to cook all day on Sundays. I generally begin the day baking bread, making tofu, and usually one or two other things, such as pizza today, then later I make something fairly involved for dinner. It’s my domestic day. Today started off strong – I got my tofu mojo back – but I started getting what I suspect may be a sinus headache and all I wanted to do was read the rest of the afternoon. So all my plans for an extravagant dinner went out the door and I instead made something very simple and very comforting, although since it simmered for so long, it still felt a little bit like I was putting a normal effort into it. Really, though, prep time for this is next to nothing if you have seitan on hand. I had some in the freezer, so I was good to go.

Simple Seitan Stew

1 lb seitan, chopped into bite-sized chunks
wine or sherry for deglazing, optional
4 small cooking onions, peeled but left whole
2 huge carrots, chunked
4 small to medium potatoes, chunked
4 cups vegan “beef” broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Marmite
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
2 bay leaves (I used 4 because they were fresh and young and I think less potent)
1/2 tsp (or to taste) freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp malt vinegar, optional
2 Tbsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp cold water

Brown the seitan in some oil in a heavy Dutch oven, deglazing the pot with wine, sherry, or broth. Place the rest of the ingredients except the frozen peas, vinegar, and corn starch into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft, probably 45 minutes to an hour. Add the peas and the malt vinegar if you wish – mine tasted sort of sweet and I wanted to cut that a little bit. Remove the bay leaves. Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl, then stir into the stew and simmer another minute or two until thickened. Squish any onions that are still whole to break them up.

Serve with crusty bread.

What’s that you say? You won’t leave without a kitten photo? Well, I guess I can scrounge one up for you this time. Gomez has taken to helping me cook.

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Kumquat Braised Seitan

I bought some kumquats the other day and they are so sour they’re practically impossible to eat raw, just popping them in your mouth.I was wondering, therefore, what I could do with them. There are many recipes for candying them, which I considered doing, but we don’t eat a lot of sugary stuff. So instead, I decided to do a riff on this recipe for Kumquat Braised Oxtail.

I don’t know – don’t want to know – what oxtail is, but I think it is part of a cow, so I first made some “beefy” seitan. I’ve used a pressure cooker for both the seitan and the braising and it took about an hour from start to finish. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it will probably take about an hour and a half or a bit longer.

Kumquat Braised Seitan

For the seitan:
10 oz (1 box) vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp white pepper
5.5 oz tomato juice
1 vegan “beef” bouillon cube
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Marmite
1 tsp gravy browner (Kitchen Bouquet) (optional) (actually it’s all optional but the vital wheat gluten and water!)

For the dish:
18 oz (about 1/3 recipe above) “beefy” seitan (freeze the rest)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kumquats, chopped
1″ ginger, grated
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup vegan “beef” broth
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

To make the seitan, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the water in a measuring cup.

Add water to make just under 2 cups of liquid and whisk again.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and then mix well; I do this with my hands.

Form seitan into a log and slice 1/2″ slices.

Put 8 cups of water or weak vegan “beef” broth into a pressure cooker (or Dutch oven), add the seitan, cover, and bring to pressure (or to a boil if you don’t have a pressure cooker). Reduce heat and pressure cook for 1/2 hour, or simmer for one hour.

Meanwhile, slice the shallots.

Chop the kumquat; remove any seeds you see (but they’re edible so don’t freak out if you miss any).

Grate the ginger. I minced it for some reason and then regretted it later.

When the seitan is done, quick-release the pressure, then drain.

Move about 10 medallions (18 ounces) somewhere they can be spread out so they cool quickly (freeze the rest of the seitan when it cools). While the seitan is cooling a bit, rinse out the pressure cooker, heat over medium heat, add the olive oil, then add the shallots and cook until soft.

While the shallots are cooking, chop the seitan into bite-sized pieces.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the vinegar to the pressure cooker (or Dutch oven) …

… then add the seitan.

Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and cook for 20 minutes, then quick-release the pressure.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

And here it is plated, with Israeli couscous and braised baby bok choy.

I was a bit worried the broth would be very sour from the kumquats, but it wasn’t sour at all, in fact, it was only subtly kumquat-flavored. The original recipe calls for straining the kumquats out of the broth, but I left them in for flavor – after cooking, they were far less sour and provided a little burst of tangy flavor. This was good but not amazing.

Mark wanted to pose with his meal:

Comments (8)

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