I would normally consider the Seitan en Croute from Robin Robertson’s 1000 Vegan Recipes a “Sunday dinner” -- fancier than my typical weeknight fare, a dish that takes more time and concentration to put together. But I had a carton of mushrooms that didn’t look like they’d make it until Sunday, so I decided to suck it up and make it on a Friday! Anyway, Tony is working a rough schedule right now; he's on his feet all day and doesn’t get to eat much more than a couple of Power Bars. So I figured he deserved a nice meal to end his week.
I wanted to serve the seitan pies (croutes?) on a bed of mashed potatoes, covered in a Madeira wine reduction. I made the potatoes early in the day, assisted as always by my helpers Jackson and Olivia. I also took out two loaves of steamed white seitan (recipe from Viva Vegan) from the freezer to thaw.
Later, while the puff pastry thawed for 20 minutes, I made the mushroom stuffing and sliced the seitan into thin pieces. This was my first time using puff pastry. It was easy to roll out between two sheets of parchment paper. I was worried that it would tear while I was assembling the pies, but I did my best not to overfill them and it was OK. Next, the pies needed to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes, so while that was going on, I made the wine sauce (recipe also from 1000 Vegan Recipes). When Tony got home, all I needed to do was bake the pies for 20 minutes. I brushed the tops with a little soy milk so they would turn a nice golden brown.
So how did they turn out? I thought they looked like giant mushrooms sitting on a mashed potato “stem,” ha! They tasted great. All the flavors blended well. I’m sure you could use any seitan recipe you like or use store-bought. It cooks up very nicely inside its little crust, doesn’t turn slimy or overly chewy (that’s a pet peeve for Tony and me).
Since I’m focused on saving money on groceries these days, I would add that the Madeira wine is probably not totally necessary if you don’t feel like splurging on it just to cook with. There’s some in the stuffing, but it doesn’t lend a strong flavor, so I think vegetable broth could be substituted. As for the Madeira sauce, it has a subtle flavor, slightly sweet. Your favorite veggie gravy would also work.
Dessert was sort of a non-sequitir after our elegant dinner. None of us has much of a sweet tooth, but I admit I'm a sucker for anything with peanut butter – which is why I made Averie’s high-protein peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls! They've really become a staple in our house. Jackson is a little guy and, while he is not a “picky” eater, he doesn’t eat a LOT, so I want everything he eats to be nutrient-dense. Fortunately he loves peanut butter (wonder where he got that from!) so when I saw Averie’s recipe I had to give it a try. These treats literally take only a couple minutes to assemble, and Jackson really loves them.
Hope you have a great weekend!