Friday, September 17, 2010

Parte Seconda Di Salsiccia Fest

I'm all about good food on the cheap. Every now and then I might splurge on awesome pre-packaged mock meats (Gardein still baffles my mind on a regular basis) but I take great pleasure in making my own mock meats from scratch. I get a serious buzz from recreating stuff that costs a fraction of what you pay for in store. I love Field Roast Italian sausage, but I don't want to spend $6 on four measly links when I can make twice as many for a buck or so. Frankly, I'd rather avoid getting in the car and driving through the labyrinth of doom a.k.a. Whole Foods parking lot just for those four links. So take that, Field Roast (I still love you)!

These sausages are easy on the wallet and good in the belly.

Italian Seitan Sausage

  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or veggie chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional, sub with more broth)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon agave (optional)
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry red chili flake (or more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (rubbed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • several grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Prepare your steaming basket and get your water boiling.

I don't currently own a steaming basket, but my metal colander fits perfectly inside this stock pot. Feel free to improvise if necessary. Get all McGuyver on that shiz. Don't mind that gnarly looking stove. I have roommates. 'Nuff said.

In a large bowl mix all your dry ingredients and spices and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the portobello mushroom cap until it has a crumb-like texture. Don't over process, we don't want a mushroom puree. Add the mushroom bits to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Return to your food processor and add the wet ingredients: cannellini beans, garlic, tomato, wine, vegetable broth, tamari, agave, oil and Worcestershire. Puree until completely smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and get everything mixed thoroughly, using your hands to make a dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes while you get your foil ready, by now the water should be to a full boil.

Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces. Take each portion and begin shaping it into a log or link and wrap the link tightly in foil. Don't worry if it's not perfect. Repeat this process for all the portions and place the foiled logs into your steaming apparatus. Steam over medium-high heat for 1 1/2 hours, making sure to replenish water level every 30-40 minutes.


Keep a pot of water on simmer alongside your steaming basket. When your basket's water levels are low, you'll have a back up of hot water. This helps to keep things nice and steamy.

Don't get lazy and cut the cooking time in half. Good food takes time.

This sausage freezes and thaws well, so keep some links frozen for long term use. They'll keep in the freezer for months.

Give some to your friends. Who doesn't like the gift of sausage? Exactly.