Pan-Seared Seitan with Red Wine Sauce & Caramelized Onion
seitan steaks (see below)
1 bottle vegan red wine
1 thick slice of rustic whole wheat bread per person
2-3 yellow onions
1 bay leaf
olive oil for sautéing
5-6 tablespoon Earth Balance or other "butter" spread
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4-6 cloves garlic
cornstarch or white flour
2 tablespoon vegan maple syrup or brown sugar
This recipe is definitely not low-fat, but it's a wonderful winter indulgence and has been a big hit at dinner parties. I recommend serving it with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans to round out the meal.
Prepare seitan according to your favorite recipe, or use store-bought if you must. If you are making your own seitan steaks, I highly recommend the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance.
Place the seitan steaks in a large, flat-bottomed bowl and pour enough of the red wine in to cover them. Add one or two cloves of garlic, and grind a generous amount of black pepper into the mixture. Marinate them overnight for the best flavor, but as little as 30 minutes will do in a pinch.
While the steaks are marinating, dice the onions and mince the remaining garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil for frying. Add the onion and garlic, and continue to stir until most of the oil is absorbed. You can caramelize the onions using less oil and more water if you wish. Add a little more oil or water, and continue stirring until the onions have turned translucent. Add a few tablespoons more water or oil, stir in the maple syrup or brown sugar, and cover the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and soft. This usually takes 25-30 minutes total.
When the onions are 10 minutes along, heat 3/4 cup of the red wine in a sauce pan. Add the bay leaf and let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the Earth Balance butter. Let this simmer for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Then start sifting in the cornstarch or flour a little at a time until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring constantly with a whisk until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. When a dash of water dances on the pan, you are ready to pan-sear some seitan! The trick is NOT to move the seitan around on the pan so the seitan can sear in its own marinade. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes, spooning a little extra marinade on top. You can squish them down a little with a spatula. Flip and repeat the process on the other side until browned, but don't overcook.
Last but not least, griddle the slices of whole wheat bread in the skillet used to cook the seitan. Flatten a bit with a spatula to get them nice and toasted.
Move the bread to your serving plates and spoon some of the onions on top. Add a little of the sauce, then the seitan steak, then more sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!