October 5th, 2008

Seitan Chops Smothered In Apples And Ginger

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The stars of the hour, apple and ginger!

You know a dish is a keeper when you don’t want to wash your hands for hours afterwards because they smell so delicious.

When Katie announced this week’s Iron Chef Challenge ingredients I knew that I couldn’t go with the obvious, so I immediately crossed any and all baked goods off my imaginary list. But I’m still a little embarrassed that I came up with my dish because Peter Brady popped into my head, “Pork chops and appleshauche, porkchops and appleshauche…” Obviously, my Peter Brady was a vegan one.

I wanted a tender seitan. Not soft exactly – toothsome but not tough. I’ve been wanting to try chickpea flour in the Veganomicon seitan recipe instead of nutritional yeast and it really did the trick – exactly what I wanted. Simmered seitan was the way to go here because baking or steaming would give too stiff a texture. Once simmered and cooled, I sliced them lengthwise in kind of a diagonal to create a more organic shape because I wasn’t up for eating any right angles or geometry of any sort.

I used whole wheat panko to coat the cutlets, with lots of fresh rosemary and pan fried in olive oil to get a crispy on the outside, tender on the inside bite. You have got to love the aroma or fresh rosemary in the frying pan.

And finally – the star of the evening! Thick slices of rome apples with a little maple syrup and brown sugar and loads and loads of fresh minced ginger. I threw in a handful or dried cranberries and baked until tender and just a little caramelized. I also made a separate pan of crispy sauteed shallots for another dimension of savory with a hint of sweet. And then I smothered it all over the chops. And it was good.

It looks like a hot mess but I didn’t feel like taking a lot of time to set it up, I really wanted to eat it – I served with sweet and salty maple baby carrots, brown basmati and sauteed purple kale

Seitan Chops Smothered In Apples And Ginger

Serves 4

For the Ginger And Apples:

3 Tablespoons fresh minced ginger

2 pounds rome apples (or any crisp red apple), peeled and sliced into 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

handful dried cranberries (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons brown sugar



For the shallots:

2 cups thinly sliced shallots

1 tablespoon olive oil

For the seitan cutlets:

1 recipe Veganomicon seitan (with chickpea flour instead of nutritional yeast, and minus the garlic and lemon), shaped into 4 cutlet shapes (please don’t make me write out that recipe! You have v-con right?) and cooled


Breading ingredients:

3/4 cup panko breadcrumb, preferably whole wheat

3 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

Several dashes fresh black pepper

Olive oil for pan frying


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put all the apples on the sheet and toss with maple syrup and olive oil to coat. Spread out into a single layer. Scatter in the cranberries and ginger and then sprinkle on the brown sugar.

Cover loosely with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and flip the apples. Bake for 15 more minutes or until tender and slightly browned.

While the apples are baking prepare your shallots. I used the same cast iron pan for the shallots and the cutlets to cut down on dish duty. Just saute the shallots in the oil over medium high until shallots are nice and brown and crispy in spots. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with tin foil to keep warm.

Now make the cutlets.

They should be cool to the touch and still damp from the simmering. Slice them lengthwise and at an angle to create 8 pieces.

On a plate, toss together all of the breading ingredients. Preheat your pan to medium heat. Press each pieces into the breading to coat well.

Pour a nice thick layer of oil into the pan. You’re not deep frying so don’t go overboard but 1/4 inch of oil would be just great. Pan fry the seitan for about 3 minutes on each side and then another 2 to 3 minutes or so on each side until nicely browned. Do it in two batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.

To plate:

Lay each cutlet on the plate, top with some shallots and then smother in lots of apples.

This was so fun, thanks for the great ingredients Katie! And check out all the other entries for this week. Don’t miss the next one!

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