Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Turkey Alternative

Thanksgiving is just a week away and I’m sure those of you who are cooking, are planning the menu.  If you’re not vegetarian/vegan yourself, you probably have at least one person coming to your table that will not eat turkey.  Maybe, due to the recession, you just can’t afford a turkey.  Whatever the reason, I have a very tasty alternative for you.  Stuffed tofu rolls with mushroom gravy.  The great thing about these tofu rolls is that it can be made the day before and reheated right before serving and topped with the gravy.  
You can stuff the tofu with any kind of stuffing.  My favorite is made from cornbread and sprouted whole bread.  I used this cornbread recipe with only a 1/4 cup sugar and minus nuts and dried fruit and baked it in a square pan.  When it was done I cut it into cubes, along with a slice of toasted bread and then broiled them until they were crispy and golden.  I added some dried cranberries to my stuffing, you could also add pecans.
Cornbread Stuffing
This recipe will stuff about 8 tofu rolls - use organic ingredients whenever possible
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups cubed and toasted bread (whole wheat, cornbread, sourdough, whatever you like)
1 pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 cup vegetable broth, heated (I used Imagine Un-Chicken Broth)
1 splash of white wine (optional)
Toast whatever bread you are going to use, let it cool and cube it.  
Put the cubes on a cookie sheet and broil on medium for about five minutes until crispy, allow to cool.
Heat a saute pan on medium low heat and add the oil.
Add the onion, garlic and celery and saute for about 7 minutes.
You can add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan if you want.
Add the bread cubes, salt and poultry seasoning.
Pour the broth over everything and stir.  Allow it to sit and absorb the broth for a few minutes, you may want to add a little more broth is the bread is not all softened.
Add any nuts or dried fruit now.
Before you make the stuffing, you should marinate the tofu. Cut a block of firm fresh organic tofu into four 4”x4” slabs.  Don’t use that silken tofu in the shelf stable box.  Put the tofu slabs in a pan or dish that is big enough so that the tofu doesn’t overlap, and one you can bake in.  Pour the marinade over the tofu and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Tofu Marinade
Makes enough marinade for 4 pieces of tofu
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
Blend all three together and pour 1/2 of the marinade over the tofu, turning to coat well.  Reserve the rest for basting.
Cut four pieces of single layer cheese cloth approximately 6” x 10”  
Sprinkle each piece of tofu with some poultry spice and put it on the cheese cloth, spice side down.

Add some stuffing to one half of the tofu square.

Lifting the cheese cloth, roll the empty side of the tofu over the stuffing and tightly overlap the cheese cloth.  Twist the ends of the cheese cloth and fold them under and then put them back in the pan with the left over marinade. The tofu will not completely cover the stuffing on the bottom, but don’t worry about that, the cheese cloth will hold it in place.  It should look like this when you’re done.

Spoon some of the marinade over each roll and bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Basting every 15 minutes.

This is what it will will like on the inside when it’s done.  I covered the tofu rolls with an “absolutely delicious” mushroom gravy.  I got the recipe from Pham Fatale’s website.  I replaced the butter and cream with Earth Balance and soy creamer and added mushrooms.  You can make a non mushroom version if you prefer, just leave them out.  Here’s my adaptation of Jacqueline’s wonderful recipe.

Mushroom Gravy
Makes about 3 cups - use organic ingredients whenever possible
4 tablespoons Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine. divided.
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
12 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1-1/2 tablespoons white miso paste
1-2/3 cups warmed vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon natural soy creamer
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons soy sauce (or tamari)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Add 1 of the tablespoons of margarine to a heated pan and saute the onions and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes, on a medium low heat, stirring often. 
In a food processor, blend the cooked onions, mushrooms, miso, creamer and 1/4 cup of the warm broth.
In the same pan that you cooked the onions (you can deglaze it with a splash of white wine)  add the remaining butter.
When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour, which will instantly form a paste.
Slowly whisk in the the remaining broth.
Increase the heat a little and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Whisk in the miso mixture and soy sauce.
You may want to reserve a few of the sliced sauteed mushrooms for a garnish.

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