Thursday, 6 November 2008

Dangerous Vegan Cutlets

It's cold, damp & the streets are lined with spent fireworks (I'd collect them for kindling, but I'm pretty sure that would result in one brief, spectacular bonfire, and a mention in the last 5 minutes on the 6 o'clock news*), so comfort food seems in order.

So here's a recipe for Dangerous Vegan Cutlets**
Long ago, this was a recipe for Chickpea Cutlets from that glorious tome, The Veganomicon (Klaatu barata nikto!), great recipes & a sense of humour all in one cookbook? Huzzah!
Though time, laziness, absent-mindedness & a distressing tendency towards experimentation have created this recipe, which still resembles the original.
For this recipe, we'll be needing some gluten powder (or wheat gluten, which I've mentioned before in the seitan recipe)

Dangerous Vegan Cutlets

1 can cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup gluten powder
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (preferably cornbread-crumbs, though anything else will do)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp salt
Black pepper. A lot
1 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
1/2 tsp cumin
1tbs Tabasco or chipotle sauce (I like Valentina Salsa Muy Picante, but any favourite hot sauce will work)
1/4 cup vegetable stock

In a bowl, mash the chickpeas. They don't have to be a hummus-style puree, just knocked about a bit so there are no whole ones left. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, stock, spices & seasonings & stir.

Scatter the gluten powder over the chickpea mixture & stir. Terrible things will occur. Don't worry, that's the miracle of gluten powder.

Knead the sticky mass until elasticy strings have formed. It'll only take 2 or 3 minutes. Cut into 4 equal pieces & flatten into cutlets (or burgers, they're pretty good in a bun with some spinach or shredded lettuce, topped with a few jalapeno slices. Num!) about 1cm thick (though a little thicker or thinner is fine). I tend to make mine thinner at one end. Why? No idea!
Pour a thin layer of oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat & fry the cutlets for 5-7 minutes on each side (you can add more oil if necessary when turning them). They're ready when browned & firm to the touch.

Mmmm. You can serve them with roasted or steamed veg, vegetable rice, or in a sandwich with some salad & avocado, smothered in gravy or salsa. You can even slice them & fry until crisp, and scatter over salad or fajitas (on corn fajitas is especially nice). These ones were eaten with mustard mash with some illicit french beans***

This is a great recipe to do some experimenting with. No chickpeas? try Pinto beans, or red kidney beans (they work really well). Butter beans with lots of garlic & herbs make a great cutlet. Or chickpeas with some Madras (or whatever Indian spice paste or powder you have lurking at the back of your cupboard) paste instead of the paprika & tabasco. Borlotti beans with grated onion & garlic & a dollop of sundried tomato paste works well too.

Om Nom Nom!

*if I'm lucky. It'll probably be a sideline in the Sheffield Star. BBQ Vegetarian a hit with local cats.
**After Nighthawks at the diner's Dangerous Veal Cutlets at the Copper Penny.
My veal cutlet come down, tried to beat the shit out of my cup of coffee. Coffee just wasn't strong enough to defend itself...
***Thanks to my Mum, master of the illicit vegetable.

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