As mentioned in one of my last comments, during the last month I have been busy working on my Tempeh-stuffed Seitan Wellington with caramelised onions and port for Christmas. It took me about a million batches, an unlocked master level in swearing and a few ‘there, there’s from Tim to get it right. I changed techniques, orders and ingredients for weeks. At one point I thought about making life easier for myself and changing the recipe drastically but I’m a fighter (and a lover – why choose?) so I soldiered on and the result is exactly what I wanted: a festive vegan protein dish. I know I’m a little late with this recipe if you needed something for Christmas but it’s also perfect for New Year’s eve or any other special occasion. I didn’t post it earlier because my non-biological sister (hi Sara!) was staying with us and we were too busy catching up after years of being separated 🙂
Now, this recipe is easy and cheap to make. It is however not quick. It took me a solid 4 hours to make the components, keeping in mind that that included making the seitan from scratch. But I promise you it was worth it. Both Sara and Tim had loads of it and wanted more the day after – mission accomplished! 🙂 The beauty about this dish is that you can make all the components the day before, so you don’t have to worry about it on Christmas day. I remember hours and hours of worrying if the turkey was going to cook properly and in time – not any more! Remember that I have put these components in here because they all have a different texture and flavour. But you can definitely customise this recipe to your taste or the time you can spend on it: if you don’t like mushrooms you can drop the duxelles for example or if you don’t have time to make the seitan you can just leave it out.
What will you make for New Year’s eve?
Ingredients (6 portions):
- 1 package (about 400 grams) of defrosted tempeh and filtered water to boil it
- 2 glugs of sunflower seed oil (any neutral vegetable oil will do)
- 2 small onions, chopped finely (pieces about the size of a standard pencil-top eraser)
- 4 medium sized cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 50 grams of pine nuts, bashed until roughly broken (they are mainly used for texture and fat here)
- 1 cup of ruby port (you should be able to sub this with red wine but I haven’t tried it yet)
- 4 tablespoons of vegetarian mushroom sauce (you can swap this for vegetarian oyster sauce but don’t omit!)
- 2 tablespoons of less salt soy sauce (I used Kikkoman, don’t omit!)
- 4 whole cloves (don’t omit!)
- A good pinch of nutmeg powder
- 5 teaspoons of dried sage
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme (you can use fresh herbs too but will probably have to adjust the amount)
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup of panko-style breadcrumbs (I used a Korean brand)
- 2 x this recipe (don’t mix different types or brands of flour as this will make the seitan weaker!)
- 4 tablespoons of vodka (don’t omit, this is needed to bring out the flavours!)
- 8 tablespoons of vegetarian stir-fry sauce (don’t omit!)
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower seed oil (or any other neutral vegetable oil)
- 2 tablespoons of vegan margarine (it could work with oil too but I haven’t tried that yet)
- A 500 gram container of fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped very finely in a food processor like here
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (don’t omit!)
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
+ 1 store-bought sheet of good-quality vegan puff pastry. Unfortunately I used Lidl’s puff pastry which turned out to be too thin and not really puff so make sure you get a good brand!
- Cut the tempeh in two and put it in a small pot together with plenty of cold filtered water so that the tempeh is floating. Put the lid on, bring the water to a rolling boil and boil the tempeh for 10 minutes (turning the tempeh after 5 minutes). If you don’t boil the tempeh it will be very bitter so don’t skip this step. Drain and let cool in a colander while you prepare the rest. When cool enough, grate the tempeh coarsely.
- Heat up the sunflower seed oil in 2 medium sized non-stick pans over medium-high heat and caramelise one onion in each pan. This can take a while so be patient. For my last batch I actually overdid it a bit and that was by far the best stuffing I made so don’t worry when the onion is a little darker than you had in mind 😉
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and put half of the garlic and pine nuts in each pan. Sauté until just browned. Then add half of the tempeh to each pan, turn the heat up again and sauté the tempeh until browned. Again, this can take a little while so don’t try to rush it.
- Stir together the port, mushroom sauce and soy sauce and pour half of this mixture in each pan. Add 2 cloves per pan and the nutmeg. Cook until the moisture has evaporated and the tempeh is browning again. You want the consistency to be like minced meat/a bean burger mixture. The tempeh should be as dry as possible, because once in the oven it won’t dry out much more. Combine the tempeh in one bowl and let it cool down a little.
- Sprinkle the sage, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper and panko over the tempeh. Knead the whole tempeh mixture really well for a few minutes, it is important that the herbs, spices and panko get evenly distributed. Roll the tempeh into a sausage as thick as a rolling pin. Wrap in aluminium foil and store in the fridge until use.
- Make seitan following this recipe. Squeeze the water out of the freshly made seitan and stretch it out on a plate.
- Stir together the vodka, stir-fry sauce, salt and sunflower seed oil and pour this marinade over the seitan. Massage the marinade into the seitan and poke holes in it with your fingers. It should look like the picture below. My plate wasn’t deep enough so I had to get rid of some of the marinade but if you do have a big/deep enough plate just let it rest in all of it. Cover the whole thing with cling film and store it in the fridge until use.
- Heat up the margarine in 2 medium sized non-stick pans over low-medium heat.
- Put half of the mushroom paste and thyme in each pan and cook until the water has evaporated and it looks like in the picture below. Season with pepper and salt. Combine the duxelles in one plate or bowl, cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge until use.
- Preheat the oven at 180° celsius.
- Roll out the puff pastry horizontally and spread the duxelles over it, except for the top and the sides.
- Stretch the seitan preferably over a wooden board so it doesn’t spring back and put the stuffing on top, roll the seitan up and over the stuffing. It will hang off the sides, which is what you want.
- Put the seitan roll on top of the puff pastry and roll it up tightly. Fold the sides as if you were wrapping a gift box and push down to seal. Cut the excess pastry on the sides and at the top (if any). Make a few small cuts at the top to let steam escape.
- Put the Wellington in the middle of the preheated oven. I had to put it in for a little over an hour for the puff pastry to – well – puff, but my oven is incredibly slow. So in a normal oven it would probably take half the time. Make sure to turn the Wellington around halfway through the cooking time. ENJOY! 🙂
Storage and tip of the day:
This dish only lasted for a few days here because people kept volunteering to eat the leftovers so unfortunately I am not sure what the maximum time would be to keep it in the fridge. It should be possible to freeze this but I haven’t tried this personally so I’m not sure how that would affect it.
After trying all sorts of techniques this is the best result I’ve gotten for a tempeh-based stuffing. If you’re planning on making a tempeh-based sausage or patty, have a look at this recipe first and try the methods I decribed. I am far happier with this recipe than the one for my Mini Meaty Tempeh Sausages but unfortunately that comes with a price: time. Try it and let me know what you think!