Thanksgiving Recipes : UnTurkey Roast

16 Nov

Update Thanksgiving 2010: I updated the ratios so that you can make it with 1 5-cup package Bob’s Red Mill flour. The updated ratios (which make a little less) are at the bottom.
This is really easy – the long ingredients and directions look daunting, but it really is pretty simple.

Hands-on time: about 20 minutes?
Cooking time: 2 hours

Dry ingredients:
6 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour (**scroll down for the recipe scaled to one bag Bob’s Red Mill VWG!)
1/2 cup chickpea flour (optional, but I think the texture is best with it)
1 ½ cups nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp ground poultry seasoning (marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)
2 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning
1-2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Wet ingredients:
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
(1/2 tsp liquid smoke)
3 cups + more water
(bean curd skin sheets from an Asian market, usually frozen)

Basting Mixture:
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
(2 tsp gravy browner)
(melted margarine)

Mixing bowl
Cheese cloth
Large pot with a steamer tray
Baking/Roasting pan or Dutch Oven
Pastry brush, spoon, or baster


Mix up all of the dry ingredients in a medium to large size bowl until totally mixed up. Mix up the wet ingredients in another container. Add the wet into the dry, using your hands to squish it around. It will be pretty dry. Slowly squish in more water, about a quarter cup at a time, until the gluten mass no longer retains the water (it will stop being dry, and the bottom of the bowl will have a bit of liquid). Form the mass into kind of a ball shape and wrap it up in a cheesecloth.

To wrap it up: use about ½ a package of cheesecloth. Plop the gluten down in the middle, and roll it up with the short sides of the cloth. With the long sides, twist them, bring them up and tie them in a knot on the top. This makes a handy little handle for taking the gluten out and putting it in.

About the cheesecloth: The cheesecloth is essential. It keeps the gluten from expanding too much and getting spongy, it keeps it at that delightful chewy texture that we like. If you divide the loaves in four, I have found that large flour-sack type dish towels also work pretty well.

Next, heat the water in the steaming pot. You can add fresh herbs to the bottom of the pot (like a fresh poultry blend) if you desire, it smells good. Put it in the pot on a vegetable steaming rack in its nice little cheesecloth sack. I use a big ol’ pot for steaming tamales, but any large pot with a steam rack will do. Steam it for an hour.

While the gluten is steaming, get the basting sauce ready and preheat the oven to 350′.

When the hour is up, liberate the gluten from the cheesecloth and put it in a roasting pan. Reserve the cooking liquid for gravy if you want. If you are using it, place one layer of the bean curd skin around the gluten. Brush with the basting mixture and melted margarine. Repeat 3-4 times, so that you have several layers of “skin”. If you aren’t using the bean curd skin, brush or spoon basting mixture over the gluten. Roast for an hour, basting every fifteen minutes or so. Alternatively, using a Dutch Oven: Put the roast in the Dutch Oven with about 2/3 of the basting mixture. Put the lid on. Bake for 30 minutes, put the rest of the basting mixture on the roast and the lid back on, and bake for another 30 minutes. I did it that way this year and it turned out great.

—————-Scaled Down Measurements———————–
Dry ingredients:
1 bag (5 cups) Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
6 Tbsp chickpea flour (optional, but I think the texture is best with it)
1 cup + 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp ground poultry seasoning (marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning
1-1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
(1/2 tsp liquid smoke)
2 1/2 cups + more water


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