Vegan Steak-Frites!

Even back in the days when I ate meat, I never much cared for steak. This was likely because the first time I tasted it, I was a child at the beach with my family and another family…and dinner was barbecued steak. The steaks must’ve been the other dad’s idea–my own parents were never big meat eaters, and steak would’ve been the last thing the ever-thrifty Kate would ever have served us.

Well, the adults were chatting up these steaks as though they were the greatest thing you’d ever taste in your life, so I was anticipating something really special.

The lump of meat on the plate that was eventually handed to me was enormous–something that my mum could’ve spun out for days to feed our family of eight. Once I managed to get a lump in my mouth (it took a few minutes of sawing), it tasted okay for the first few seconds…but the chewing bit seemed to go on forever. I finally gave up and sneaked off into the long grass to spit the damn thing out.

I did not return to the overwhelming hunk of meat at my place at the picnic table, and the experience tainted my idea of steak for the rest of my carnivorous days, which ended almost thirty years ago.

And even with my various forays into seitan-making over the last couple of years, I’ve avoided any recipe for seitan steak…until today when one of my nieces (a particular carnivore!) teased me in an online chat this morning with this:

…at the exact moment when I was researching recipes for dinner. I figured it was a sign, so I decided to make Gaz Oakley’s seitan steak recipe.

Now Gaz’s recipes are invariably so tasty that I rarely make too many adjustments.

I made only a few:

I replaced the marmite with a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable base;

I added a teaspoon of liquid smoke;

I pressure cooked the steaks in broth in the Instant Pot (for one hour) instead of simmering them on the stovetop;

I used the stand mixer to knead the dough for eight minutes instead of hand-kneading it for ten.

Instead of the peppercorn sauce, James made Gordon Ramsay’s Shallot & Red Wine Sauce, but he replaced the shallots with red onion and the butter with vegan butter. The sauce is thin and similar to jus, rather than thick like the peppercorn sauce. The sauce reduced to just under a cup and we used only half that for our “steaks,” and it was the perfect amount.

I won’t reproduce the recipe here since I’ve listed my adjustments above, and Gaz’s website offers both the recipe and a video to explain the method. Oh–and I managed to get seven “steaks” out of the recipe!

James barbecued the “steaks” for about two-and-a-half minutes per side; the barbecue added a bit of smokiness, which was perfect.

We had our seitan steak with frites, Greek salad, and a freshly baked baguette and it was delicious!! I doubt it tasted anything like real steak, but it was perfect to my non-steak-loving palate!

Look at that tasty bite!!

I’m also excited at the prospect of using the leftover seitan steaks to make donair with this new vegan pita recipe I’ve made a number of times with great success!

And our song of the day is Frazey Ford’s “Indian Ocean.” When I asked Google to play Frazey Ford yesterday, I was told it was Ford’s 47th birthday, so belated birthday greetings, Frazey–see you in Nanaimo on the 4th!

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