Monday, April 3, 2017

Carving Board Vegan Pastrami (I promise it's not meat!)


Oh, Pastrami! You are so salty and savory and fatty and just a tad sweet and taste magnificent with a big thick smear of deli mustard and provolone on toasty sourdough. My husband and I used to travel far and wide for a giant pastrami sandwich in our pre-vegan days, and the both of us really had a hankering for nostalgia.

We set out to recreate this old favorite at home using seitan and traditional pastrami spices. It had to juicy. It had to be tangy. It had to have that peppered crust. And...it had to have that signature pink marbling. After all, we eat with our eyes first, and this had to look as authentic as possible. We wanted it to be like those artisan carving board sandwiches you see on all the food shows. You know, the ones they serve up at all the hipster gastro pubs.

Except ours, well, ours had to be vegan.




I can't remember who said it, but my dear friend Erin, from Olives for Dinner, shared a quote, "Treat your vegetables like meat!" and I really thought that was great advice. I mean, for the most part, animal products, especially meat, get seasoned with plants to give them flavor, right? So, why not simply cook plants using the same cooking methods used to prepare meat? Brilliant.

Vegan Carving Board Pastrami

For the Seitan Dough:
2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup vegan beef-flavored vegetable broth (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Beef Base, or you can make your own using the broth recipe from my Vegan Ya Ka Mein.)
2 tablespoons mild flavored vegetable oil
Vegan red food coloring, optional

For the Dry Rub:
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried coriander

For the Simmering Broth:
2 cups vegan beef-flavored vegetable broth
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sea salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf

To make the seitan dough: In a mixing bowl, add vital wheat gluten, flour, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, mustard seed, and salt. Stir to combine.
Create a well in the center and slowly add in the broth and oil. Using your hands work the liquid into the flour mixture until a sticky wet dough is formed.
Knead the dough for 5 solid minutes. You can do this right in the bowl.
If you want that marbled effect (tastes the same either way!) add in a few drops of red food color and knead some more to marble the dough. Add as much or as little as you like to get the desired effect.
Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.
While resting pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Have ready a rimmed baking sheet and a large piece of foil.

To make the spice rub, simply mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Lay the piece of foil flat on the counter. Tranfer the dough to the center of the foil and form into a rectangle-ish slab about 6-inches wide, 8-inches long, and 3-inches thick. This does not need to be exact.
Coat the entire surface with the spice rub, flip over and coat the bottom with the rub.
Roll the slab up in the foil as tightly as possible. If you need a second piece of foil, use it. (You need to wrap it as tight as possible so the seitan does not expand while baking. You want it to remain trapped in the foil so it remains dense, not bready.)
Place on the baking sheet and bake, wrapped, for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, carefully remove from the oven. Allow to cook for a few minutes before carefully unwrapping.
Place the partially baked slab in the center of the pan (you can line with parchment or anther piece of foil to help with clean-up, if you choose) and bake an additional 30 minutes uncovered.
It should be blackened and hard to the touch when ready.

While baking, prepare the simmering broth.
Add all broth ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes to make sure all the salt and sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat to a medium low simmer.
Remove blackened Pastrami slab from the oven and allow to cool to the touch.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the pastrami into thin slices. As thin as you can! If you are lucky enough to have one of those deli-meat spinning slicers, now is an amazing time to bust it out!
Place the slices into the simmering broth.

Serve the pastrami straight from the broth.
If you are planning to serve it later, make sure to store the pastrami in the broth to keep it moist and juicy.

Yield: 2 pounds



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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni