Friday, November 06, 2009

Vegetarian Polish Sausage (take 1)

Last week, during my Japanese conversation class, I mentioned vital wheat gluten to my Sensei. To explain a bit, this man is possibly the most curious Japanese man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is a Baptist minister who has traveled around the world, and is fluent in English and passable in a slew of other languages, most recently including Portuguese. I have the utmost respect for him as a teacher and a friend, and his family as well. His son became one of my first and best Japanese friends, and is a pretty impressive snowboarder (after just 2 seasons). The entire family are also musicians, and when Maekawa-sensei is not trying to get me to somehow understand transitive and intransitive verbs, he's convincing me I need to learn how to play the accordion, or perhaps start studying Chinese as well. Like I said... amazing man.

Back to wheat gluten. My sensei doesn't eat fish, which is considered rather odd in Japan. When I stay for dinner after class, his wife cooks vegetarian food, so we can all eat together. It's awesome and I have gleened many ideas from her cooking. When I mentioned I have been looking for gluten so I could make vegetarian sausages, his interest was immediately peaked. He ran upstairs and ordered 1kilo for us to share, and I it was delivered this week. Upon handing me my pack, he said, "You might as well take mine, too. You'll need it to make me sausages." Cheeky!

This is my challenge. An old childhood favorite, that I made a few times in university with store bought veggie sausage. Can it be done with no proper steamer?

I started with a variation of Isa's sausage recipe from the Veganomicon, and altered it for a more Polish flavor.

for the sausage
1/2 cup beans (I used cannellini)
1 cup cold vegetable broth
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp dried marjoram

1. Bring steamer water to a boil while preparing other ingredients.
2. Mash beans in large bowl with fork.
3. Add other ingredients as listed and mix well.
4. Shape into sausages and wrap with aluminum foil, be sure to twist ends of foil
5. Place in steamer for 50 mins.
6. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, fry sausages for till uniformly brown on edges.

for the kraut
1 jar sauerkraut
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp caraway seeds

1. Cut sausages into 1.5cm thick slices.

2. In frying pan or hot plate, add sauerkraut, sugar, mustard, and caraway seeds.

3. Toss in slices of sausage and spoon kraut over them till well integrated.

4. Cover with lid and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

I apologize for the most unappetizing food to ever be posted online, but I wanted to show the process for creating the sausages.

All tucked away in their make-shift steamer.

J gives it a 6 on a 1-10 scale (with 5 being I would eat it again as if some changes were made). The texture was surprisingly good, but admittedly the spice was not strong enough. I will "kick it up a notch" as requested, next time around. There was a definite flavor memory touched upon for me, though, so I was happy with my first attempt.

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