I think seitan is an acquired taste for some people, but it lends itself to some delicious creations, especially when coming up with meat analogs. When making seitan, or other patties or sausages featuring wheat gluten, I like using bold spices and flavors. These don't mask so much as outshine the taste of straight wheat gluten, which I'll admit isn't the top reason to go vegan.
With that approach in mind, I intentionally went into high gear with the spices in these sausages. They're close relatives of the chorizo recipe in Vegan Brunch, with a heavy dose of smoked Spanish paprika, aka Pimenton de la Vera. I even used a little liquid smoke, which I'm usually not very crazy about, ever since a traumatic episode with a pot of chili. That's when I learned that a little liquid smoke goes a very long way, and a lot of liquid smoke will ruin a pot of chili beyond any hope of repair. I'm coming back around to appreciate it in certain recipes, though it should be used drop by drop. Maybe even with a syringe :)
Here's my ingredients:
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/3 cup chickpea flour
3 cloves garlic, finely minced, or ideally grated with a microplane
1 cup water (or vegetable broth, if you have some)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tbsp. tamari, braggs, or soy sauce
1 tbsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cayenne powder
1/8 tsp (just a couple drops) liquid smoke
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
The easiest way to do these is with two bowls. Mix the flours and nutritional yeast flakes in one bowl, and the grated garlic, water or broth, oil, tomato paste, and spices in another bowl. When both are well combined, mix together and stir just until all of the flour is incorporated. Divide into four equal portions.
If you don't have Vegan Brunch, the trick to making these is to form them into vaguely sausagey shapes, then wrap fairly tightly in aluminum foil. I steam these in a vegetable steamer in my soup pot, first bringing the water to a quick boil, then steaming over very low heat for about an hour. While they're cooking they expand into the aluminum foil rolls to form perfect cylinders. Pretty neat.
I made a couple of rice dishes with sausage chunks lightly sauteed in olive oil. The first is sort of a no-bake version of a baked Mediterranean rice and tomato recipe. Seitan sausages, fried onions, garden tomatoes, Italian parsley, and white rice. Sprinkled with a little more extra virgin olive oil, smoked paprika, and sea salt, and it sounds pretty good to me.
This is the same rice and seitan base, with fried onions, pistachios, and plump raisins that were soaked in hot water. I'll call it a pilaf, as it's seasoned with ground cumin and coriander, and has a sort of Middle Eastern feel. I love soaked raisins in savory dishes, because they're these sweet, juicy little surprises amid the all the spiciness.