Friday, July 11, 2008

Vegan Reuben Sandwich

I enjoyed yesterday's reuben sandwich so much I decided to try my hand at making my own. Fantastic success! The vegan corned beef turned out far better than expected. But first, I had to find out exactly what corned beef is. How can corn be an adjective? As it turns out, the corn in this case refers to the large grain salt used to cure beef brisket. The whole process takes about 10 days. Well, this version takes only one hour and tastes fabulous. The key is the seasoned salt and the smoked paprika. If you don't have smoked paprika, use regular paprika and add a few drops of liquid smoke.

Vegan Corned Beef
- 1/2 cup chickpeas
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp dried mustard
- 4 dried juniper berries, crushed into powder (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

Get water on its way to steaming in your steamer
1. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until smooth. Add everything else except the wheat gluten and process.
2. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the wheat gluten with a fork. Knead for a minute or so to get everything mixed.
3. Shape into a rectangle (about 8" x 5") and wrap in foil. Double fold the seams so the seitan will steam properly.
4. Steam for 45-60 mins. The seitan must swell against the foil, so make sure that happens before you remove it from the steamer.
5. Let cool and bit, then thinly slice for the sandwich.

Vegan Reuben Sandwich
- thinly sliced vegan corned beef
- sauerkraut, squeezed dry
- Thousand Island dressing (1/4 cup Vegenaise, 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp relish or minced pickle)
- vegan cheese (optional)
- light rye bread
- vegan margarine

1. "Butter" two slices of bread (like you are doing a grilled cheese sandwich). Slather some dressing on a piece of bread and top with corned beef. Top that with some sauerkraut and cheese (if using). Top with more corned beef, dressing, and the top piece of bread.
2. Cook for a few mins per side on a griddle until nicely browned.