Monday, April 14, 2008

Sausages for All!

Even before becoming vegan, I had a hard time with sausages. I loved, loved, loved them - so handy, so portable, so easy to incorporate into a snack or a solid meal! But for several years before I made the switch to the vegan lifestyle I had been unable to eat pigs anyhow, so had restricted my (deluded) self to chicken and beef sausages. But, having finally seen sense, I reconciled myself to this being a food, like cheese, that I'd just have to deal with really missing.

Enter the Sausage, Reborn!

I happened across a recipe for vegan sausages and gave it a go.

Then My Beloved and I took it to the next level, by customising the base recipe, and I am tickled pink to report that sausages are welcome in our kitchen once again! Here's the basic recipe, which will make between 5 and 6 sausages, depending on how thick you like them:

1 vegan bouillon cube (enough to flavor 2 cups water, see below)
1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted and made into crumbs
1 cup vital wheat gluten (about 4.5 ounces or 127 grams)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon flax seeds, ground

1 cup cool water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cashew butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce

And the recipe is simplicity itself. Yes, I know I always say that, but it really is sooooo much easier than growing a piglet....

1. Dissolve the bouillion cube in the water and set aside.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir well. They will look like this:

The vital wheat gluten.

The toasted breadcrumbs.

My 'cheesy' favourite: nutritional yeast.

The herbs: clockwise from 12 o'clock - sage, thyme, black pepper, onion powder, marjoram, ground flax seeds, and nutmeg in the center.

BTW: this is what whole flax seeds look like:

3. Whisk together all of the wet ingredients (garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, plus the 1 cup of stock) until the cashew butter is well dispersed. Prior to whisking, they look like this:

Plus, of course, the vegetable stock, but no-one photographs their veg stock, right?

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and stir until well mixed. If the mix seems dry to you, feel free to add more water. I do, frequently.

OK, so now you have the base sausages. This weekend, I made a double batch, halved it and then created one set of 'cajun spicy sausages' and the other of 'mexican tequila, lime and black bean'.

For the Cajun-spicy, add the following:

1/4 stp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
dash of liquid smoke

For the Mexican-style, I used these:

1/2 oz tequila
1 oz lime juice
2 oz black beans
pinch of salt

These are very approximate measures as, by this point in the game, I was not exactly thinking 'scientifically', due to dwindling tequilla reserves....

Anyway, in either case, just add the extras in and mix.

Now, the fun starts when making up these little beauties. Grab some aluminium foil and tear into rectangles. Divide your mix into 5 or 6 equal-sized portions and plop each one down on the foil. Roll out gently to form a log shape and then roll up the foil, twisting the ends tightly. Once the sausages are wrapped in the foil it becomes easier to make them more regular in shape....just keep practicing, it's not hard! :)

Then all you have to do is to steam them for 35 mins.

When they're done, you can either leave them to go cold for a meal another day, or give in to temptation and try one right away. I have adopted both of these tactics and, although I know I should act my age and resist the urge for instant gratification, I find the second option infinitely preferable!

Stay Vegan, Friends!