The Wurst Day Ever
Having a bummer day? Pick yourself up, get in the kitchen and prepare to feel puffy. I am eating this delicious treat as I write this and let me tell you the payoff is huge. It feels like I just rebuilt an engine. We are taking the highway straight to veganville with this recipe folks-things are getting serious ingredient wise but I promise you that these ingredients are widely available in health food stores and some grocery chains. All the ingredients in this recipe will be welcome friends in your pantry and will take your vegan cooking skills to the next level.
1 cup chickpeas + vegetable stock as needed- if using canned
½ cup textured soy protein bits (or textured vegetable protein bits TVP)
2 cups water
1 tblsp plum vinegar
1 tblsp tamari
1 teas agave nectar
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 tblsp ground flax seed
2 tblsp nutritional yeast
¼ teas mustard powder
2 teas marjoram
1 tblsp coarse black pepper - I broke down whole peppercorns with a mortar and pestle
½ teas salt
1 tblsp vegetable oil
⅓ cup vegetable stock (or cooking liquid from chickpeas if you used dry)
*You will also need aluminum foil and a steamer set up
1. Simmer chickpeas in salted water until soft. Strain and reserve cooking liquid. In a blender or food processor, process chickpeas with enough liquid that they become a puree (think hummus)
2. Place the protein bits, 2 cups water, plum vinegar, tamari and agave nectar in a pot and bring to a boil then simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed/reduced-this should take about 25 minutes. Take off heat and let cool.
3. Combine vital wheat gluten, ground flax, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, mustard powder, marjoram and salt in a bowl - mix so ingredients are combined well.
4. Add cooked protein bits and chickpea puree to the dry ingredients in your bowl. Add 1 tblsp oil and ⅓ cup vegetable stock-or chickpea cooking liquid if you’ve got it.
5. Mix the ingredients, a dough will form. The dough should be moist but not wet. Add liquid if needed. Knead for about 5 minutes.
6, Using a knife, divide the dough according to how many/what size sausages you want. The size I made produced 8 sausages from this recipe.
7. Roll and shape your dough into a sausagey shape.
8. Take each sausage and wrap in aluminum foil by rolling it up around-like a candy wrapper. Twist both ends (think tootsie roll) and make sure it is sealed and there are no tears in the foil.
9. Steam for 45 minutes.
If this is your first time working with some of these ingredients don’t worry- the steps are straightforward and I can’t foresee any surprises here. Plum vinegar a.k.a Ume vinegar a.k.a umeboshi is a truly fantastic ingredient to have around. It is a tart, salty, complex flavour that adds a nice layer to this recipe and has many regular everyday uses like in salad dressings for example.
It is important, while cooking the protein bits, to allow the liquid to fully reduce and not to strain, this intensifies the flavors so be patient. For me, coarse, freshly cracked black pepper is crucial in this recipe but not everyone loves pepper like I do; fresh grind or even store bought grind is fine. Make sure you have plenty of water in your steaming set up, 45 minutes is a long time and you want to avoid total evaporation.
These sausages hold their own in a skillet or on a grill and brown really nicely. They also slice up well if you want to throw chunks into a pasta dish. Give it a go- you will not be disappointed.