Fellow Vegetarians and Friends of the Vegetable, have I got a stew for you. Our recent irritating bout of unseasonably cool weather had the upside of me tinkering around in the kitchen & ending up with this dish, which is an adaptation of a recipe from a Sunset I found while sorting old magazines for recycling (sometimes it is worth going through all of them all over again! I am vindicated!). It's rich, bright, & flavorful, & the first time I served it we all sat around talking about what a good cook I am. Even the four year-old.
Seitan, also called "wheat meat," is important here. It's my preferred protein for any dish where I want a substantial, chewy texture without going for the fake soy "meats." Lots of people make their own, but producing seitan turns out to be one of the few crafts that doesn't capture my imagination, so I just buy White Wave chicken style (broth-packed) from the co-op's refrigerated section (look near the tofu + veggie "meats"). I use the seitan broth in this recipe; if you make your own or use a different brand, just use a good veg broth instead. Take note: the White Wave seitan broth is so very salty that I do not add any additional salt when using it; if you're using a different broth, salt to taste.
Serve with crusty bread (important for getting every last bit of broth!) & a green salad.
1 package White Wave chicken-style seitan, broth reserved
2 T whole wheat flour
black pepper, pref. freshly ground
4T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T capers, drained & roughly chopped
2T white wine vinegar
1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 15oz can quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 c mixed green & kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/4 c Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
1T lemon juice or to taste
Drain the seitan, pouring the broth into a measuring cup & adding enough water to equal 2 1/2 cups. Cut the seitan into bite size pieces.
Heat 2T olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy nonstick pot. Add the seitan, whole wheat flour, & pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned. The flour will coat the bottom of the pan & start turning dark brown; don't worry about it sticking, but keep an eye on it because you don't want it to burn.
Remove the seitan from the pot & set aside. Reduce heat to medium, then add the remaining 2T olive oil, the garlic, & the capers, & stir for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup broth & the white wine vinegar, then simmer until reduced by half, stirring to deglaze (mix all those browned bits in).
Add the rest of the broth, seitan, chickpeas, & potatoes, return to simmer, then cover & cook 10 mins. Add the artichokes (cut up any big pieces -- everything should be bite-sized), then cover & cook another 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in olives, parsley, & lemon juice, then season with pepper to taste.