Colonial Apple Catsup and Baked Seitan Ham

Wandering the library the other day, I for some reason decided it would be a hoot to look for really old recipes, particularly from this area, that I could veganize, so I trotted on over to the cookbooks. I expected to find just a couple of books, but my arms were full after looking over just a shelf and a half of about six shelves of cookbooks. I checked out books containing recipes from colonial Williamsburg, the Civil War, and our “founding fathers”.

Flipping through them a bit more intensively at home later, though, I started having second thoughts. I don’t know that I really want to veganize anything called “Sheep’s Head Stew,” which yes, really is what it sounds like. I couldn’t even read some of the recipes they were so disturbing. One of the books used the old-style “s” that looks like “f”, though, which made the chapter called “Flesh and Fish” look like “Flefh and Fifh”, which I kept reading as “Flesh and Filth,” which was sort of amusing…and accurately conveys how appetizing I found most of its contents.

I did eventually mark a few recipes, though. One of the more interesting was Dutch Apple Catsup. The modern intro says,

Just as catsup is very American, so is the idea of making it from apples instead of tomatoes.

Which I thought was funny given the name of the recipe is Dutch Apple Catsup. The recipe is in the chapter on New York recipes, though, where there were a lot of Dutch settlers – it was called New Amsterdam when this recipe was in favor – and in fact, most of the recipes in the chapter are Dutch this or that. I just thought it was linguistically humorous.

The intro also goes on to say,

This recipe looks strange, but if you prepare it, you will be surprised at what a great relish is it with roast pork, baked ham, and many other main course dishes.

The recipe is entirely vegan as written, though I have halved all the amounts (and still made more than I can probably use). I didn’t find it strange at all!

Dutch Apple Catsup
an old New Amsterdam recipe from the 18th century

6 large or 8 medium apples (or 1 pint prepared applesauce)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 medium white onion, diced
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Pare and core the apples …

… then quarter.

Place in a pot and cover with water.

Simmer without a lid until the apples are very soft and the water has almost completely evaporated.

Puree the apples. You can either push them through a sieve (the colonial method), run them through a food mill, beat them with a spoon, or put them in a blender. I did the least colonial thing:

At this point I realized I’d spent an hour and a half making apple sauce. You can easily skip all of the above steps and buy non-sweetened, all-natural apple sauce.

Place the remaining ingredients in a pot.

Stir in the apple sauce:

Simmer slowly for one hour.

As the recipe had said to serve with roast pork or baked ham, I figured I’d finalize my “ham” recipe. So here goes; it’s nearly identical to my last attempt.

Seitan Ham

2 1/3 cups vital wheat gluten (one box)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 cup beet juice (or just use water; the resulting “ham” simply won’t be pink)
1 cup ketchup

For the simmering broth
7 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sage
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Bring the simmering broth ingredients to a boil in a large pot:

Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl:

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Pour the liquid into the dry and mix with your hands. Pardon me, but I forgot how to focus at this point. I’d have trashed the photo, but I wanted you to see the fuschia color.

Form into a log and place on a large piece of cheesecloth. I wash and reuse cheesecloth, which is why it looks dingy.

Roll up then tie of the ends like a Tootsie roll:

Place the seitan log in the simmering broth.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes (or pressure cook for 45 minutes).

Remove log from the broth.

When cool enough to handle, unwrap it. It’s much less pink, though the interior was pinkish when sliced.

It’s best if you bake it. Slice it up:

Baste it with something. The recipe I gave here is really tasty, but of course tonight I used the apple catsup, which was also tasty.

Bake at 400 degrees for half an hour.

Serve, with additional catsup.

Mark stole one of my slices off my plate, so it seemed to go over well with him. I have a ton of apple catsup left over. Now I’m wondering what else to do with it!

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