26 Nov

Tofurky: It’s What’s For Dinner

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, and this year it looks like we’ll be eating Tofurky. Looks like we won’t be the only ones, either. Tofurky is all right. It’s not turkey, but it’s good enough in its own way. I don’t like their gravy, though, and usually make my own. (See below for the recipe.)

Some years I actually make my own “faux turkey” recipe, and it’s much better than the Tofurky. As a Thanksgiving treat, here are three recipes, for “Turkeyish” Stuffing Pie, Vegetarian Brown Gravy, and my grandma’s Pumpkin Pie!

The stuffing pie recipe is adapted from one in Vegetarian Times a few years ago.

Turkeyish Stuffing Pie

Ingredients:

  • Stuffing (made from whatever recipe you prefer)
  • “chicken”-flavored seitan, 2 lbs
  • Frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed, 1 pkg
  • veggie brown gravy (see recipe below)

Seitan is wheat gluten, and much better than it sounds. In fact it can be frighteningly like real poultry, but better. “Chicken”-flavored seitan, however, can be hard to find. I like the White Wave “chicken” seitan that comes in a tub of broth, kind of like tofu. Wheat of Meat makes a “chicken” seitan that is frozen and has no broth. There is also a powdered mix, but it doesn’t look as much like real turkey. If none of the “chicken” seitan mix is available, I suspect you could improvise by making plain seitan mix with veggie “chicken” broth for the liquid.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Once you have the seitan, break it into small pieces if it isn’t already. Dip each piece in veggie brown gravy and place overlapping pieces on the foil in a big oval shape, mounding in center. Press stuffing over and around the mound to cover the seitan completely. Make a neat oval.

Roll out the puff pastry sheets fairly thin. Overlap the two sheets to make a big rectangle and seal the seam with dabs of water. Drape the pastry over the mound and tuck in a bit around the mound, and trim excess away. Using cookie cutters, cut decorative shapes out of the excess pastry, and attach them to the mound with dabs of water. (I have used stars of various sizes, or leaves. Brush the pastry with milk to make it brown nicely (I suspect egg would make it nice and shiny, but I haven’t tried that).

Bake one hour. About 20 minutes after you start cooking, check and see if the pastry has browned. If it’s browned enough, put a sheet of foil overthe pie to stop the browning. If you don’t do this, the crust will BURN and the pie will dry out.

To serve, cut slices straight down through pastry, stuffing and seitan. Spoon gravy over each slice. Yum! It’s the first veggie turkey substitute I’ve ever had that didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing the good food. It’s really good!

Veggie Brown Gravy

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 4 T. finely chopped onion
  • 4 rounded T. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 cups seitan cooking liquid, or the broth that came in the White
    Wave seitan tub, or veggie broth
  • 4 T. tamari or soy (don’t use this if you use the seitan broth — that will
    make it spicy and chickeny enough)
  • Pepper to taste

Melt margarine and saute onion in it until onion becomes very soft (about 2 mins). Transfer onion to a small bowl, wipe skillet clean. Add flour to dry skillet; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until flour browns and gives off a toasted fragrance, about 5 mins. (You will feel like a dork standing there stirring a skillet full of dry flour.)

Remove flour from heat; add seitan liquid (or veg broth with soy sauce/tamari). Return to heat; cook, whisking constantly, until gravy comes to a boil and thickens, about 5 mins. Stir in reserved onion and pepper to taste. Cook one minute to blend flavors. Simmer one minute.

This gravy is very good.

Grandma Margaret’s Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 recipe pie crust (I’m lazy and buy a crust at the store)
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or one small can)

add:

  • 2 eggs beaten slightly (Egg Beaters work just fine if you are trying to be
    low fat)

add:

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

add:

  • 1 c. scalded milk (skim milk works fine if you wish to use it, and so does
    soy milk)

Mix all together. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350, bake 45 mins. Done when you can stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

Makes 1 pie. For two pies, use a large can of pumpkin and double everything else exactly. (This is what I usually do.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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