James has taken to making weekly feasts this fall, which is lovely because he is an amazing chef and his approach to cooking is antithetical to mine. If a recipe called for truffles foraged by wild boars on a Sicilian hillside, James wouldn’t see that as a deterrent; he would call the bank for a loan. I, on the other hand, will often proudly exclaim to James that the meal I’ve just made him cost only a buck or so worth of ingredients.
As for substitutions, he will make them ONLY to convert a non-vegan recipe to vegan, while I substitute freely (and often!). For this week’s feast, for example, I likely would’ve just used apple juice, whatever jam was in the fridge, and Jameson, rather than the “required” ingredients, but James would have none of that! The man actually added “hard apple cider,” “apple jelly,” and “brandy” to his list of grievances in anticipation of making this recipe. (If you recall, we call his grocery list his “list of grievances” ever since I found a crumpled paper in his jacket pocket and misread–with great alarm–his illegible handwriting.)
The following recipe is one James apparently made many times in his previous incarnation as a career carnivore. It’s from a 1998 issue of Gusto Magazine, which, sadly, no longer exists (though James has a dusty pile of them shoved on one of our many cookbook shelves). And I’m glad he hasn’t listened to my entreaties to dispose of them because we both absolutely loved his vegan conversion of this dish!
Seitan “POrk” Medallions & Hard Apple Cider
1 lb. seitan pork , sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 TBS vegan butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
2 small shallots, finely chopped
11/2 cups hard apple cider
1 tsp brandy
1/2 cup cashew cream
2 tsp apple jelly
Season seitan pork with salt and pepper; set aside.
In large skillet, over medium-high heat, combine vegan butter and oil until hot. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add shallots and saute until soft. Remove from skillet and add to mushrooms.
Add seitan slices to skillet and saute until browned. Add additional olive oil to skillet, if necessary. Remove seitan to warm dish and set aside. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of hard apple cider and simmer until reduced by half. Add brandy and the remaining cup of hard apple cider. Bring to a boil and reduce by half again. Reduce heat to medium and add cashew cream and apple jelly, cooking until thickened. Add seitan slices, mushrooms, and shallots to skillet, until warmed through and seitan is completely coated with sauce.
As I mentioned above, the result was scrumptious! He served it with a tomato salad and air-fried potatoes.
The recipe makes enough for four, so we’ll be dining on this lusciousness again this evening!
And the song of the day is Alexi Murdoch’s “Something Beautiful”: