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Flashback Friday: Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast

For Fridays during Vegan MoFo I’m writing about recipes from some of my very early posts that are of particular interest.  This week it’s my recipe for Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast.  Why?  Well, for one thing it’s the MOST visited post on my entire blog, secondly, it’s slow cooker season, and third, if you’ve missed out on this before, then you’ve really been missing something.  (Unless of course, you don’t like seitan, then you probably don’t care. Although you could certainly make pot roast style vegetables and add some tempeh or beans, right? Or maybe you’d like the recipe for this Pot au Feu.  The recipe calls for seitan, but you can use sauteed tempeh or cannellini beans instead:

My original pot roast recipe (top photo) appeared in my slow cooker book, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Since that time, I’ve done several adaptations, including Vegan on the Cheap where you’ll find a regular seitan pot roast recipe as well as a personal favorite, Corned Seitan and Cabbage.  (The corned seitan is ideal for vegan Reubens)  Here’s a photo: 
I also like to occasionally change things up, pot-roast wise, and cut the seitan into smaller chunks before adding to the slow cooker.  I think that may give it a bit more flavor from being more exposed to the broth and veggies.  For more of a “stew” effect, you can even cut the seitan into bite-sized pieces. 
Regarding slow-cooker cooking times, I can’t stress enough how much time variance there is among the different slow cooker models. The best advice is to get to know your own slow cooker and adjust accordingly. You may have to “lift the lid” a couple times to test for doneness until you are familiar with your cooker and how long it takes for things to be done.


There’s still time to enter to win a copy of Vegan Unplugged here. (The contest closes Monday at midnight and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.)

And at Vegan Appetite, Tami is giving away a copy of my book, Party Vegan.  Check it out!  Tami also posted some great recipe photos and review of the book.

And so ends the second week of Vegan MoFo!

Slow Cooker “Pot au Feu”

Although my tastes generally run to foods that are hot and spicy, caramelized, pan-seared, or grilled, sometimes I’m in the mood for simpler fare, especially on cold wintry days. This kind of weather often turns my thoughts to the cozy goodness of slow-cooker recipes. The other day I wanted something loaded with veggies but more substantial than soup. I cracked open a copy of Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, and my eyes landed on the perfect solution: Pot au Feu!

Similar to the Italian bolito misto or the Boston boiled dinner my mother occasionally made when I was growing up, the pot au feu is simple no-frills comfort food. Literally pot on the fire, it refers to a French dish of meat and vegetables slowly cooked in water or broth. Usually, the rich broth is served with croutons as a first course.

The vegetables included may vary according to the region, but usually contain potatoes, carrots, and leeks. I added slices of seitan during the last thirty minutes of cooking time, just long enough to heat the seitan and let the rich flavors of the broth permeate it. Served with a crusty baguette and a glass of wine, it was just like dining in the French countryside — only different.

Slow Cooker Pot au Feu
This recipe is adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. If you don’t have a large slow cooker, cut down on the quantities slightly so that everything fits. Instead of making a horseradish sauce as an accompaniment like I do in the book, I put out small bowls of prepared horseradish and coarse brown mustard. Of course, it’s best served with a baguette — try it sliced and toasted, then brushed with a little olive oil and rubbed with garlic.

2 leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and well washed
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 small turnips, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
1 celery rib, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small head Savoy cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bouquet garni (cheesecloth bundle containing peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick thyme, parsley, and bay leaves)
Splash of dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces seitan, thinly sliced

1. Cut the leeks into 3-inch long pieces and place them in a 5 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Pour the broth over all, add the bouquet garni and a splash of wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The amount of salt needed depends on the saltiness of your broth. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours, or until vegetables are tender. (See note.)
2. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the seitan slices. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
3. To serve, remove vegetables and seitan from the broth. Discard the bouquet garni. Serve the broth as a first course or alongside the entrée. Arrange the vegetables and seitan on a large platter. Serve with condiments and toasted bread.
Serves 4

Note: Some slow cookers (crockpots) cook faster than others. The cooking time is approximate. If you want your meal cooked faster, cook it on High and it should be ready in about 4 hours. In either case, if possible, after about 3 hours, pierce your vegetables with a fork to test for doneness, and baste with some of the broth.