Friday, December 24, 2010

Seitan Pot Roast

Nothing says comfort food like a pot roast! The centerpiece of many Sunday dinners, it is soul nourishing food. Placed in a crockpot, it's mouth-watering scent wafts through the home, welcoming all who enter. And the best part is leftovers! So many things you can do with them!

Seitan Pot Roast

1 onion, chopped
1-3/4 c. vital wheat gluten
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 t. onion powder
1 t. thyme
1-1/2 c. water
3 T. Braggs aminos
1 T. ketchup
3 large carrots, sliced
5 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1 c. vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper

Spread the onion along the bottom of the crockpot.

In a bowl, mix the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, thyme and 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the water, Braggs and ketchup. Pour liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Knead this for about 2 minutes. Mold into a nice shape, and place the raw seitan in the crockpot, on top of the chopped onions.

Arrange the carrots and potatoes in the crockpot around the seitan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the the vegetable broth. Place lid on crockpot, turn to low and let cook 8 hours.
Slice the seitan roast and serve with the vegetables. Enjoy!

If you have never used a crockpot, my first piece of advice is - go buy one! When purchasing a crockpot, look for one with a removable liner. They are much easier to clean. They come in many sizes and shapes, so pick one that suits you. I have two. One round, one oval and both large. I've found the oval shaped one does seem to take longer to cook.

The LOW setting is about 200 degrees, and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees. In other words, it gets hot! Make sure it sits on your counter away from the edge, to avoid any little fingers accidentally touching. One hour on HIGH is equal to two hours on LOW.

Only fill the crockpot one half to two thirds full. The foods will not cook properly if the appliance is filled to the brim. If the food and liquid level is lower, the foods will cook too quickly. Foods cooked on the bottom of the slow cooker cook faster and will be moister because they are immersed in the simmering liquid. Don't lift the lid to stir, especially if you are cooking on the low setting. Each time you lift the lid, enough heat will escape that the cooking time should be extended by 20 minutes to half an hour. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it's easy to see inside. Liquids do not boil away in the crockpot, so if you are making a recipe that wasn't specifically developed for the crockpot, reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 unless you are cooking rice or making soup.

Cooking times. Most people want to try adapting their favorite stews and sauces to the slow cooker. The chart below explains how to adjust cooking times.

Oven/Stove Top Time      Slow Cooker (Low Setting)     Slow Cooker (High Setting)

15 - 30 min.                     4 - 6 hours                               1.5 - 2.5 hours
30 - 45 min.                     6 - 8 hours                               3 - 4 hours
45 min - 3 hours               8 - 16 hours                             4 - 6 hours

The crockpot is ideal for working people who must be away from home all day (or for those days when you must run errands or attend meetings, or for when you're entertaining and want to get the food preparation done early). The food will simmer for 10 to 12 hours on Low if you must be gone all day or you may cook the food in 5 to 6 hours on High. It is a very simple appliance to operate and you will find that the cooked food is very tasty. If you are a working person or one who knows they will have a very busy day, you can do most of the chopping and measuring the night before. Then refrigerate these ingredients until the next morning. If your crockpot has a REMOVABLE liner, you can assemble and refrigerate the food right in the liner which will be easy to pop into the crockpot the next morning. Be sure you don't fill the crockpot so full that the food pushes up on the lid.  Protect the crockery liner. Do not subject it to sudden temperature changes. Do not preheat the cooker and then add food. Do not pour cool water into the crockery liner while it is still hot after food has been removed.

CLEANUP: As soon as you remove the food from the crockpot, uplug it and fill the liner with VERY HOT soapy water (DO NOT ADD COOL WATER!!). Let the liner soak while you eat. When the water has cooled, you can swish out the liner and rinse it and put in in the dishwasher. Mine are crockery and HEAVY, so be careful not to drop and break your liner! NEVER IMMERSE THE OUTSIDE PART OF THE COOKER OR LET THE CORD GET IN THE WATER!! Wipe the outside metal shell with a damp soft cloth and dry with a towel.
I have used a crockpot for years and have only ever had to replace one, when it quit cooking on LOW. They are a fabulously convenient appliance to use, and make dinner preparation a snap, especially on those days when I am extraordinarily busy. Having dinner ready and waiting is a blessing!

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