Ashkenazi Jews use “brisket” in the same way that most Americans use “pot roast”. Strictly speaking this is confusing, but in a post about vegan food the niceties of this are unimportant (and potentially offensive). If you must know why this is confusing, go look it up. In the meantime, suffice it to say that if you are looking for aBBQ-style recipe, this is not it. If you are looking for a pot-roast style recipe, this will do nicely.
This is another one of the recipes I veganized for this year’s high holidays. Brisket is a traditional recipe for the high holidays, and my grandmother made it every year. Unfortunately nobody has been successful in replicating her brisket, even using her recipe. It might have something to do with the vague instructions and wildly approximate measurements. I really don’t know. Of course this isn’t an attempt to replicate her brisket, really, since the main thing that makes it brisket is, well, brisket. But I did want to see if I could make something vegan and gluten free and tasty using the flavors from her original recipe (mushrooms, onions, and beef gravy).
The main difficulty was finding an appropriate meat substitute. Since I’m gluten-free, I can’t use “seitan”, which is the only thing I could think of that might have the right texture. Tempeh was an option that I considered, but I worried that it wouldn’t absorb the gravy enough. Fortunately I found this recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill blog for gluten free “seitan”. It turned out nothing like that picture, by the way. I keep thinking I might have done something wrong. I didn’t have enough instant yeast, but I don’t feel like it rose at all anyhow. I think if it had risen it would help the texture a bit. It was tasty, but not everything I had hoped for and more. I plan on trying some other gluten-free “seitan” recipes in the future.
The “seitan” before cooking (after being quick-seared in a pan).
I made the gravy with sweet rice flour roux based on the instructions from Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef. This provided a lovely, rich flavor but unfortunately the rice flour clumped a lot. Not a big deal, if this happens, you can just strain the gravy through a fine mesh sieve, and it will not affect the taste at all. Actually, I just used the gravy clumps and all and after the long cooking the clumps dissolved anyhow.
The roux before browning.
I’m not gonna lie, this gravy was DELICIOUS. I used the “Better than Bouillon” vegan beef flavor. I kept some to
spoon into my mouth use on something else in the future.
I baked this on low temperature for a fairly long time (2 hours) which probably isn’t necessary. It was more to get a nice, soft texture from the mushrooms and onions. It didn’t hurt anything though. I think you could get away for 1 hour for the first roast if you wanted. Then slice it, and you do need to bake it again for 30-45 minutes at a higher temperature, because it is still a little mushy after the low-temp roast.
Slicing, before the second bake.
And now, browned nicely.
Because meat-substitutes are pretty dry, you will want to baste this periodically with some “beef” broth to keep the gravy from getting too thick.
All meat-eaters agreed that this was pretty good. It’s not brisket, but it is delicious!
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ pint of mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ c vegan butter/margarine
- ¼ c sweet rice flour (aka mochi flour)
- 2 c vegan beef or mushroom flavored broth
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- ½ cup GF Rolled Oats
- 1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Instant Yeast
- Melt butter over medium heat, then slowly whisk in the sweet rice flour until cohesive. Brown for a few minutes, then remove from heat and rest. After a few minutes, place back on medium heat and very slowly add the beef broth, whisking thoroughly between pours until the broth is well incorporated and thickened. Continue mixing until all the broth is added.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor until it is tacky. You may need to add a few tbsp of water to get it to adhere to itself. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to rise.
- Form into a large loaf and sear in a nonstick pan until browned on top and bottom.
- Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
- Place a generous layer of onion and mushroom at the bottom of a 1 qt roasting pan. Place the seitan loaf on top and then cover with the rest of the mushrooms and onions. Pour gravy on top of everything. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cover brisket and place in oven to roast for 1-2 hours until onions and mushrooms are well-cooked. I did not baste during this time but you may want to check periodically to make sure the gravy is not too dried out and add some broth if needed.
- Remove brisket from oven and let cool for a few minutes. While waiting, turn the oven up to 350. When cool enough to handle, take out the seitan loaf and slice thinly, then return slices to the roasting pan. Add more gravy or broth as necessary to cover the slices of seitan. Return to oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. During this roasting time, frequently check and baste with additional broth as needed. Remove from oven when the seitan appears browned and is no longer sticky.