Yep, my first vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner comes to you courtesy of the fake meat industry that thrives so that non-meat eaters like myself can indulge themselves without breaking any self-imposed rules. For the unfamiliar, seitan can best be described as "wheat meat" or a high-protein substance made from wheat gluten. Wheat's answer to tofu, if you will.
My original plan for Thanksgiving was a vegetarian take on Ina Garten's turkey roulade, but I was afraid that it wouldn't work with tofu no matter how much liquid I pressed out of it. Plus there was the question of how fake sausage or vegan sausage crumbles would hold up in such an involved stuffing mixture. So, I nixed that and Googled "vegetarian Thanksgiving" in search of a recipe I wouldn't have to change too much and found it here.
I did change it up, though, because to me the bread stuffing underneath the puff pastry seemed redundant. Instead, I cooked all the veggies for the stuffing, made the gravy a little thicker and skipped the bread. This basically left me with a seitan pot pie. For broth, I used the liquid the seitan was packaged in. Somehow, the combination of soy sauce and lemon juice tasted just enough like chicken broth to work. Once it was ready, I put the mixture in a deep-dish pie pan...and here's what the mixture looked like:
...then I covered it over with the puff pastry and baked it per the recipe instructions. Here's what it looked like when it came out of the oven.
Only having a top crust made the slices a bit harder to cut out, but the flavor certainly didn't suffer! Live and learn: next time I'll either roll out the puff pastry a little thinner so that it has a bottom crust or I'll buy twice as much. Something to be thankful for this holiday season - Steve liked it too!
The rest of the meal was pretty easy (pardon the sloppy photography) - green beans cooked in olive oil with salt, tomatoes and crushed red pepper went on last since everything else took longer. Most of the work involved in making the caramelized butternut squash was the peeling. (As you can see, I love me some Barefoot Contessa.)
Likewise for the apple pie I whipped up for dessert - I thought I had a printed recipe but couldn't find it, so I winged it by adding to the eight or so chopped apples a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and maybe a quarter cup of flour and eyeballed the cinnamon and lemon juice in keeping with my distance memory of making apple pies from scratch. This was my first in at least five years. Also yum!
So that was our humble feast. Now that the dishes are washed and we're on to the Merlot that Steve just picked up the other day, it's time for one of my favorite things to do at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas - watch Babette's Feast! Waking Ned Devine is another good one to watch during the holidays, I think. If the library has it, maybe we'll watch Silas Marner for Christmas. I read it in a couple of days of being snowed in while visiting the fam in Virginia last year and loved it!
Hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving and counting your blessings, because they're everywhere!