I know some of you out there will turn up your noses at this recipe as you may be on a gluten-free diet but for those of you who eat bread this is the dish for you. I was doing a little research on the gluten-free diet craze and found out 80% of people on a gluten-free diet don't have a Celiac Disease diagnosis. (Mayo Clinic Research published in American Journal of Gastroenterology) Some people who are not diagnosed with Celiac Disease may have an intolerance to gluten but most of the general public can eat away at wheat and other grain products. Gluten is actually the protein left in the grain when the starch is taken away and is a good source of vegetable protein for vegetarians or anyone wanting to incorporate more plant products into their diet.
Long used in the Asian community as a meat substitute, gluten made it's entry to the Western world about 100 years ago and started to become more popular among vegetarians and in macrobiotic food preparation in the mid-20th century. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.
I can remember eating gluten as a child and watching my mother and aunts making it from scratch. They'd mix flour with water until a stiff dough was formed and then soak the ball of dough in cold water before rinsing and rinsing the starch out of the lump of dough. It took several hours of this tedious procedure until the water would run clear and the gluten would be ready to cook and eat. Needless to say, my mother never made this often.
There is, however, an easier way to prepare gluten. It is, for sure, a short-cut but a very acceptable and delicious product can be attained using Vital Gluten Flour. This is a powdered form of gluten that when mixed with other ingredients produces a tasty entree that will take the place of meat on a plate. Some people may call this finished product "Seitan" but that term is not very familiar where I live and it sounds so much like "Satan" that I could never bring myself to call it by that name. Many people think vegetarians are weird enough but if they thought I was consuming "Satan" well....who knows what they'd think! So I just call 'em Gluten Steaks.
I will be having Gluten Steaks for Christmas dinner this year and I brought a good-sized platter of them to our church Christmas dinner which was held yesterday after the church service. There were none left over to take home so that speaks to their popularity among both veg-heads and meat-eaters.
3 cups Vital Gluten Flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup dry Minit tapioca
3 tablespoon chicken or beef-style seasoning or onion soup mix
4 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
Mix dry ingredients well. Add all at once:
3 cups water
¼ cup soy sauce
Stir quickly and knead a little. You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook Let stand in a lump in colander while making broth.
12-13 cups water
3 tablespoons oil
½ cup soy sauce
3 - tablespoons chicken, beef or onion seasoning
Bring to a rapid boil. Make two long rolls out of the gluten in the colander and cut into slices and flatten a bit. Add to boiling broth. Cover and simmer about 1 hour. Makes about 3 quarts.
The steaks in broth will keep about 1 week in the refrigerator and months in the freezer.
The picture is a blurry but you can see what I mean about making two rolls and slicing them.
Use a glass of water to keep the knife wet otherwise it will stick to the gluten.
This picture looks blurry but it's steam coming up from the pot of broth.
The gluten will swell and float to the top of the pot as it simmers.
Let the steaks cool in the broth before storing in refrigerator or freezer.
Dip in beaten egg and roll in cracker crumbs and fry until golden. Serve with gravy as meat substitute for dinner or use as a sandwich filling in a vegetarian hamburger or hot beef sandwich.
I use salted soda or saltine crackers for the crumbs. I find they give a very nice crunch to the steaks. You may add seasonings to the crumbs if you wish.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Here are a few pictures of our church Christmas dinner. We ate until we waddled (at least I did). There was such good food to be had. Beside the Gluten Steaks there was some kind of pattie which I didn't get a chance to taste and a couple of Special K roasts. (I'll post that recipe in the new year.) There were all the traditional Newfoundland vegetables, pease pudding, corn, savory dressing, gravy, pickled beets, cranberry sauce and jelly, rolls, beverages and a tableful of desserts. So, yes, I guess I can say "we" waddled home.
Top left to right: Verna & Bruce; Lucas; Nevaeh; Madison.
Bottom left to right: Ana-Maria & Jonathan, our pastoral couple; Lacey, Kim, Katie & Kelley (mothers & daughters); a tableful of diners.
Here's my plate of dinner from the church Christmas dinner. Clockwise from the left: Carrot roll, gluten steaks with dressing hiding underneath, cranberry sauce, pease pudding, mashed turnip, cabbage, carrots and peas. In the middle: Mashed potato and gravy. Waddle, waddle, waddle......