Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Sunday - it's time to braise!

Hopefully, some church-going readers found the punny humor in the title.  It's better than the original title I had floating about in my brain: Praise Satan!  Er...Braised Seitan.

Let's back the Blasphemy Train up a moment and talk about dinner - Braised Cabbage with Seitan from Appetite for Reduction.

Every once in a while, when I put my menu together on the second glass of wine of a Friday night, I come back to it after I've bought all of the ingredients for the delectable meals I've chosen and thought to myself, What was I thinking?

As such, the only meal on the menu I had even the remotest desire to make tonight was this braised dish. Part of the reason I wasn't terribly interested in my menu was because I'd kind of gotten going out for dinner on my brain, but after spending about $100 on groceries, I just couldn't justify it.  Besides, next week is Mister's birthday, so we may go out to celebrate then.

Anyway, I grabbed the seitan and cabbage from the fridge and started the basmati to steaming.  I sauteed the seitan until it was nice and browned and almost looking a bit crispy, then stirred in the garlic and thyme for a moment before finally layering on the cabbage and two cups of vegetable broth.  It smelled amazing - I love the way things smell when they include thyme.

You can even see how the 15 minutes of braising time plumped the dried leaves back up to beautiful dark green, well, leaves.  You can also see how it kind of looks like the seitan lost most of the beautiful brown color I sauteed onto it, can't you?

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little disappointed in this dish.  I don't know what went wrong, but it didn't taste nearly as flavorful as it smelled.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

  1. my tastebuds are burnt out from San Francisco
  2. Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth is not flavorful enough for braising
  3. I should have used baked seitan instead of the kind that comes in a tub with liquid
The reasoning behind #1 is that it seems like nothing tastes like much of anything after those four days of extremely well-seasoned meals, but I think this is probably BS and if I look back over the last 10 days of posts I'll find evidence otherwise.

#3 makes a certain amount of sense in that I know the recipe I use to make seitan produces irrefutably flavorful seitan and broth usually enhances it, since it's a little dry from not being stored in broth.  Also, unless you prepared store-bought seitan in a very special way, it usually just takes on the flavors around it.  In this case, that is going to lead inevitably to....

The unavoidable culpability of #2.  I'm sorry, Pacific Foods - I love you, you know I do, but your broth kind of sucks and the only reason I bought it is because I used up my Trader Joe's broth on the Granada Paella last night and the only broth Essene carries is yours.  I'll be sticking to your nutmilks from here on out - I hope I didn't hurt your feelings.

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