Thursday, January 7, 2010
Pantry Challenge Day 5 - Chicken Fried Seitan
Hold on to your pom-poms, sports fans, 'cause mama just ran it back for a touchdown. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little. Or maybe not. I may live in Kentucky, which is sorta the South and sorta the Midwest but I was born and raised in North Carolina where I grew up eating fried chicken and chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes (or rice) and gravy. And in my family, the gravy was pretty much the most important part of the meal. My cousin Billy used to say that the only thing mashed potatoes or rice were good for was holdin' up the gravy!
When I made the chicken-style seitan last week for the buffalo bites we served at the party, I set aside four chicken-breast size pieces to use for this meal. (I'll do a post on seitan sometime and post the seitan recipe I used for this.) Tonight I double-breaded them with a mixture of flour and cornmeal and fried 'em in a cast iron skillet, then made cream gravy. I served them with rice and the gravy and pan-roasted broccoli drizzled with chili oil. Now this may all sound complicated and time-consuming for a weeknight dinner, but I promise you, we were sitting down to eat inside 30 minutes from the time I got started.
To get started, I put some white basmati to cook in the rice cooker. I actually prefer rice to potatoes most of the time.
Next, I prepared the pan-roasted broccoli. This is my favorite way to eat broccoli. I am all about minimizing time and effort, so I used the same cast iron skillet for both the broccoli and the seitan.
This is so easy. Heat a dry skillet for several minutes over medium heat. Add a bag of frozen broccoli florets to the hot skillet (no oil). This cooks quickly, so don't leave it. Stir the broccoli frequently to prevent burning. You want some browned places on the broccoli. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the broccoli is cooked to the tenderness you like. Add a couple splashes of Bragg's or soy sauce and let it cook down. Remove the broccoli from the pan to a serving bowl and drizzle a little hot chili oil over it. Cover this with some foil to keep it warm while everything else is cooking.
Chicken Fried Seitan
4 seitan "fillets"
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional but yummy)
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
In two separate bowls, prepare the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients. Sprinkle a little olive oil on the seitan and dredge each piece in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Now dip each piece in the milk and dredge again in the flour mixture. Set aside.
Wipe out the same skillet with a paper towel and heat it up again. Add 1/4 - 1/3 cup of safflower or canola oil and let it heat. Carefully add the breaded seitan pieces. One of the beautiful things about this is that unlike frying chicken, the seitan is already cooked, so there is no worry about eating under-cooked meat - no biting into bloody chicken - YUCK! And no salmonella worries. Not to mention no cholesterol or saturated fat. And nothing died so that you could eat dinner!
Fry the seitan for several minutes on each side, turning a couple of times, until it is golden brown all over. Remove from the skillet onto paper towels.
For the gravy, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour into the hot oil remaining in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the flour mixture starts to bubble. Add 1-2 cups non-dairy milk, stirring constantly with a metal spoon, scraping up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add water (or more milk) as needed to thin the gravy. Cook for several minutes and taste for seasoning.
Now bust a move to the table and dive into some serious southern-style home-cooking! All that's missing is a big ol' fat biscuit! Another post for another day!
Oh! And ROLL TIDE!!!