Oddly enough, chicken pot pie was one of the dishes I missed terribly once I became a vegetarian. For a long time, I made an all-veggie pot pie, which was perfectly lovely and super delicious… but I missed the “meat” aspect and still felt like, ultimately, something was missing.
Then along came seitan. When I began reading my copy of Veganomicon, one of the things I was most excited about was the prospect of making my own seitan. It felt like a hurdle – one of those things I had put on the list entitled “Things I Can’t Possibly Do.”
Thankfully, this year has been all about tackling that list and changing my idea of what is possible in the make vs. buy smackdown – as well as what can be added to the list entitled “Things I Can Totally Do.”
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Seitan is easy, but a bit time-consuming (much like cheese!). Luckily, if you’re pressed for time, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Also… I think you get a better taste if you use a veggie broth made from scratch, so if you’re able to cook the veg for this recipe first, it means you can use the leftover broth/stock for the seitan in the next step. But if that just doesn’t work for you, don’t hesitate to use store-bought broth!
Whether you make the components ahead of time and then throw it all together the night you want to eat it or cook it all in one go, I’ll lay out the steps as if you’re making it all at once. (And if you have done your veggies and seitan ahead of time, you can take them out of the fridge while you make your gravy.)
As a last note – I didn’t make my crust from scratch. I never do. It’s a laziness I’m quite attached to; however, if you like making crust by all means, go for it. I’m sure it would make everything taste even better. If you want a single crust pot-pie, throw everything in an oven-safe circular casserole dish and simply top with crust. If you want to double it up, use a deep pie dish instead.
Veggies (and veggie broth)
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, cubed (you can peel or not)
1 small head cauliflower or broccoli, florets only
8 cups water
- In a large stockpot, combine all your veggies and water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat enough to maintain a gentle rolling boil (probably somewhere around medium-high).
- Cover and allow to cook 15-20 minutes. Vegetables are done when tender (e.g., they are easily pierced with a fork or knife).
- Remove from heat and strain – reserving broth for your seitan (or any future recipe that calls for stock).
- You can safely store broth/stock in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Place your drained veggies into your casserole or pie dish, depending on whether you’re doing a single or double crust. (And, obviously, if you’re doing a double… put the bottom layer down before you add in your veg!)
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour (I found this at Whole Foods)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup cold vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 + 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups homemade veggie broth (add water if you fall a bit short until you equal 8 cups) OR 4 cups store-bought vegetable broth + 4 cups water
- Put the gluten flour and nutritional yeast in a medium bowl and make a well in the center.
- Add in the cold vegetable broth, one of the 1/4 cups of tamari, the olive oil, and the garlic. Mix well until a thick paste forms and all ingredients are relatively incorporated.
- Using your hands, knead the mixture in the bowl for approximately 3 minutes. The dough should become elastic in feel.
- Divide into three equal pieces (best to use a knife), and knead each individual piece a bit more, stretching them out just a little.
- Place your three seitan pieces into a large stock put with the 8 cups vegetable broth (or veggie broth/water combo). Bring to a boil and – when boiling – lower heat immediately to your burner’s lowest setting.
- Simmer with the pot partially covered for 1 hour. You can turn the seitan every 20 minutes or so to ensure it gets evenly covered as it cooks.
- At the end of the hour, turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit, untouched (and with no lid) for 15 minutes.
- Remove the seitan from the broth with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a strainer. Allow to drain and cool until comfortable to handle.
- For this recipe, you will only need 2 of the 3 pieces of seitan… so you can store the third in the broth in which it was cooked and use it later! Store, covered with cooking liquid, in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.
- Cut the two pieces you will be using into bite-sized chunks and add to your veggies (mix everything around as much as you are able, or just tuck some of them in closer to the bottom so they’re not simply sitting at the very top).
2 Tbsp butter (reg or vegan)
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 – 1 cup milk (reg, soy, or almond)
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp nutmeg
salt + pepper, to taste
- In a saute/frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Once butter is melted, add in your flour, stirring with a whisk until you create a buttery-flour paste in the pan.
- Cook the paste for at least 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scalding.
- Slowly add in milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, and stir to create a sauce. Each time you add milk, it will seem very liquid-y… and the paste will just sit there in the middle, but as you stir, it should all incorporate and thicken up. (Yup – you’re just making a roux!)
- Continue to add milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, until your gravy has reached a consistency you like. I tend to shoot for something that pours off the spoon slowly. Thick but not so thick as to be gloppy.
- Lower the heat and add in your spices, continuing to stir (this is truly essential the whole time). Adjust as you like, then remove from the heat entirely.
- If you have not already, place your cooked vegetables and sliced seitan into your casserole or pie dish, spreading evenly.
- Pour the hot gravy over your vegetable and seitan mixture, making sure you’ve got good coverage across the entire dish. No need to stir – it will sink in as it cooks.
- Cover with the pie crust of your choosing and bake, uncovered, at 425° F for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. (It will be piping hot!!)