Monday, February 13, 2017

Braised Fennel with Seitan (No Added Fat)

I had the idea of doing some sort of a saute of fennel with seitan. I ended up essentially braising (though not strictly as I didn't cover the pan with liquid) and came up with an interesting meal. Here is what I did.

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely (1/8") chopped
  • About 1 cup of fennel bulb, chopped into approx. 1/4" x 1 1/4" slivers (most of a medium bulb)
  • 8 ounces seitan (cut not important - I used large 3/4" or so chunks, but thin slices would be good, as well, with a different but also good mouth feel)
  • 1/4 cup broth (I used a vegan bouillon cube and 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  1. I put the garlic in a Saladmaster skillet with no oil and sauteed over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 or 3 minutes, letting the garlic develop a nice bouquet and soften a bit.
  2. I then added the fennel and continued the saute for another 8-10m or so, till the fennel was softened and some pieces were slightly browned.
  3. I added the seitan, stirred, and continued to saute just for another 2 minutes or so.
  4. I added the broth and continued cooking for another 5 or 6 minutes, letting the broth cook down and be absorbed. (For a true braise, I'd cover and simmer on low heat for a while, but I was happy with the softness of the ingredients and wanted the excess moisture to evaporate away.)
  5. I used frozen peas and added them, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes (if I used fresh, I'd add at the very end).
I also made some brown rice pasta, with dried oregano and sliced olives.

Dinner was even better than I expected! I normally like fennel in small quantity and feared that this would be too much, but the cooking perfectly mellowed out the fennel. I liked the chunks of seitan and am glad that I didn't use thin slices. The rice was also very good.

Ideas for the future

Braised fennel is a good idea! I also have not cooked with sauteeing followed by cooking down with broth. This served the duplicate purpose of cleaning up any minimal sticking in my pan. I need to try a true braise with covering the dish. I should try a tougher ingredient than seitan to see how braising softens it - maybe fibrous kale stems? Braised fennel with tofu or tempeh would be good. This was a winning combination tonight!

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