Roasted Seitan Stuffed with Chestnuts, Cranberries and Fennel
Happy Thanksgiving! This dish is for my American, Japanese, German and Canadian friends living here in Britain. It combines our British traditional autumnal crops - chestnut and cranberries, which are so prolific this time of year. This dish can also be made on Christmas day; an ideal substitute for turkey! This seitan roast stuffed with chestnuts, cranberries and fennel is a terrific way for friends to come and celebrate together for a special thanksgiving meal. I only use thyme in this dish, as I think this is perfect because it pleasantly inoculates the senses. I served this dish for a friend today as a prelude to the thanksgiving festivities - it was a pleasant diversion... When she mentioned to her friends that she was coming to mine for a vegan roast, her "so-called" friends turned in horror and gasped that on her return home she should make a slight detour to a rather famous fast food joint!! Understandably, I was not suitably impressed!! However, I was game on! Fortunately, (and to my luck) she had second helpings of this roast and was aghast that this vegan dish had such a meaty and flavoursome texture to it. The chestnut stuffing is not too overpowering and just falls languidly into the mouth. Try it and happy thanksgiving!
Author: Edward Daniel
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
- For the filling:
- 150g cranberries
- 100ml port
- 350g chestnuts
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 fennel
- 1 small bunch of thyme sprigs, retain a few for garnishing
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- For the seitan roast:
- 300g vital wheat gluten
- 25g nutritional yeast
- 240g butter beans
- 2tsp soy sauce
- 3tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp tahini
- ¼ paprika
- 1tbsp chia seeds
- For the broth:
- 200ml vegetable stock (made with filtered water)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsps walnut oil
- (and remaining port as below)
- Day 1
- Soak the cranberries in port overnight.
- The night before, cover the chestnuts in water and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Set aside.
- De-shell the chestnuts ensuring the shell and the outer skin come off. Set the chestnuts aside overnight in the refrigerator.
- Top tip
- I suggest that you de-shell the chestnuts the night before in order to save time the following day as this is a time consuming activity. Do not worry if you are unable to take all of the outer skin off, just try to take off as much as you can. Alternatively, you may wish to use frozen de-shelled chestnuts - in which case, you should measure about 330g chestnuts.
- Keep a handful of chestnuts aside - these will be used for garnishing purposes.
- Day 2
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 230 degree Celsius.
- Sauté the onion in oil, until the onion is translucent.
- With a slotted spoon, take the cranberries from the port and place into a food processor. Retain the port and leave to one side.
- Using your hands remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs.
- Add to the food processor the chestnuts, fennel, lemon juice, thyme leaves, garlic and onion with oil. Take care to only whizz the mixture for a few seconds. Ideally, it needs to combine to a rough texture.
- Place the mixture into a bowl and set to one side.
- Seitan Roast
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat gluten with nutritional yeast.
- In a food processor, add the butter beans, soy sauce, olive oil, tahini, paprika and chia seeds. Measure in 2 tbsp of the above retained port. Whizz the mixture, until it is a fine texture.
- Combine the butter bean mixture with the wheat gluten, using a spatula. Once combined, use your hands to knead into a dough. Continue to knead the dough until it is soft, fluffy and airy. Leave to one side for about 10 minutes.
- The broth
- Gently heat the vegetable broth with soy sauce, walnut oil and remaining port. Put to one side.
- Measure out two 40cm/16 inches of cling film and place one a flat surface (and retain the other for the moment).
- Place the seitan onto the cling film and place the other piece of cling film on top.
- Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the seitan.
- Top tip
- I find that cling film is better than foil and baking paper, as otherwise either of these are likely to tear. The purpose of the cling film is to ensure that the seitan rolls out, otherwise it is liable to spring back to its original shape because of its elasticity.
- Roll out the seitan, turning it over on either side of the cling film. Ideally, you want to roll out the seitan until it is about 12 inches by 8 inches.
- Line a large baking tray with aluminium foil.
- Gently remove the seitan from the cling film and place into the centre of the baking tray.
- Add the filling to the centre of the seitan. Make sure that you leave at least 1 inch to the sides and about 2 inches towards the end.
- Gently bring up the horizontal sides of the seitan to that it forms a log. Pinch together. Then pinch the ends so that you seal into a long seam.
- Top tip
- The sealing does not have to be perfect, as you can see for the dish I have prepared.
- Place a few of the remaining springs of thyme on top of the seitan. The thyme will act as garnish and the aroma of the thyme will soak through the seitan.
- Drizzle the retained chestnuts with oil, and place at the side of the seitan.
- Cover the seitan with a further sheet of aluminium foil and bake for about 50 minutes.
- After an hour, start basting the seitan with the broth with a basting brush, keeping care to place the foil back on top after you have done. Cook for about 30 minutes more, regularly basting every few minutes.
- The seitan is cooked once it is a rich golden brown colour.
- Remove the seitan and place onto a serving dish. Place the roasted chestnut on top and to the side of the seitan. Slice and serve the seitan. The remaining broth can be used as gravy.