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Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Meat Pot Roast

Wheat Meat is a nice alternative to soy-based meatless products and I've enjoyed making mock meat dishes with it for the last eight years or so. This "Pot Roast" is prepared much like the Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potatoes recipe, with slight variations in flavoring and shaping.

There are a few brands of vegan bullion available in the market that imitate the flavor of beef and chicken. Never having tasted beef, I can't tell how close it gets to the real thing. If preferred, can simply use vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken flavored broth, which is my choice usually - vegetable bullion cubes dissolved in water (1 cube in 2 cups water).

These make good leftovers. Squeeze to remove excess moisture, shred or mince to make mock ground beef. If dry enough, it can be breaded lightly and baked or pan-fried to make a nice protein packed filler for kids' lunch.

The directions look like a bit much, but, it is really an easy dish to make ahead. Can double the quantity if desired.

for the pot roast "meat":
1 cup vital wheat gluten
¾ cup warm broth
spices: 1 tsp each cumin powder, coriander powder, taco seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt

1 Tbsp canola oil

for the simmering broth:
3 to 4 cups broth+water
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 or 2 drops Liquid Smoke (I use Wright's Hickory Seasoning)
spices: celery seeds, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, parsley (or any preferred/handy combination)
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
1 medium onion sliced
3-5 cloves of garlic

  1. Combine the dry ingredients for the pot roast, add warm broth and stir with a spoon right away till it comes together to form a dough. Knead a few time and shape into a rectangular loaf/log (or any preferred shape). [When simmered, the shape doesn't hold tight and looks bloated]
  2. Start the simmering broth in a pot large enough to hold the loaf, reserving the liquid smoke to add at the end, and also reserving part of the onions for sautéeing
  3. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the loaf, sear the sides of the shaped pot roast, remove from pan and add to the simmering broth, cover and allow to simmer
  4. In the same hot pan, sauté the reserved onions, off heat and keep handy
  5. Simmer on low heat rather than full boil, 30  minutes; then, turn the loaf over in the pot and simmer another 30 to 40 minutes till it feels tender and can be cut with the edge of a regular spatula
  6. Remove the loaf, purée the simmering broth in a blender for a smooth sauce; I simply mashed with a potato masher for a coarse chunky texture, reserving some carrot chunks for presentation; return to pot and simmer till the sauce thickens to desired consistency
  7. Slice the pot roast, drizzle some sauce, top with sautéed onions, and serve warm

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