The boy's Mom gave me her old 3 1/2 quart slow cooker that she didn't need any more. She said if I liked it, I could always get a more modern slow cooker. It seemed like a good idea. I have a few long days between work and classes and it's often a rush to get dinner on the table. I didn't quite realize how out of date the slow cooker was, however, until the boy, very thoughtfully, bought me Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I was all excited to try the recipes -- then realized I'm out of the house too long. Most are done in 4-6 hrs -- which isn't even a full work day! It seems Ms. Robertson has a modern slow cooker with a "timer" and "Keep Warm" functions -- whereas mine is "HI|OFF|LOW."
Still, the cookbook is full of good sounding comfort food recipes, and so I thought I'd try it anyway. One recipe that looked especially intriguing was "Not Your Mama's Pot Roast," and I knew I'd be home all day to monitor the monster, so I though I'd give it a try today. But -- more difficulties. You need a 6 quart slow cooker, and seitan quick mix... or use her seitan recipe which involves the whole wheat flour and a lot of washing. No thanks. That recipe made 2 lbs of seitan, so I thought I'd just make 1lbs using vital wheat gluten, and cut the recipe in half to make in my smaller slow cooker. I also threw in some more veggies, since it just called for carrots, potatoes, and onions. It came out REALLY yummy in the end, the seitan was really moist and tender -- and was ready in about 6 1/2 hrs instead of the prescribed 8.
Seitan Pot Roast with Veggies
For the seitan:
1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dry thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup soy sauce
Up to 1/2 cup unbeef or vegetable broth
1. Mix together the dry ingredients.
2. Mix the oil, tomato paste, tahini, and soy sauce together. Add to the dry ingredients. Slowly add in the broth or water, stirring constantly (or in my case, with the stand mixer mixing constantly) until the seitan comes together into a moist, but not wet, ball.
3. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then form into a smooth ball.
For the Pot Roast and Veggies Part:
6 pearl onions, peeled
1/4 lbs baby carrots
1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced
10 brussels sprouts
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into coins
8 crimini mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/4 cups vegetable or unbeef broth
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tamari
2 tsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and quickly brown the veggies, except the garlic.
2. Lightly coat/mist the bottom of the slow cooker with vegetable oil to prevent the seitan from sticking.
3. Place seitan ball in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with veggies. Pour broth, vinegar, tamari, garlic, and thyme over the top of the veggies and seitan.
4. Cover and cook -- the cookbook says low for 8 hrs. I cooked it on low for 5 1/2 hrs, and then high for 1 hr.
5. Remove the seitan and veggies from the broth. Turn the slow cooker to high. Whisk 1 tbsp cornstarch in a little bit of cold water, then whisk it into the remaining broth. Stir until thickened.
I served this with some roasted Delicata squash. I sliced the squash in half, cleaned out the seeds and guts, put about 1 tbsp of Earth Balance and a drizzle of maple syrup inside, and dusted it with cinnamon. Then I roasted it in the oven at 450 for about 30 minutes until it was fork tender. The sweet squash with the savory pot roast and veggies went great!