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RECIPE: Braciole with slow cooked sauce

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

I'm excited to bring you the latest culinary re-creation from my childhood: Braciole. In many southern Italian homes, thin slices of beef are rolled with garlic, parsley and parmesan, tied with string or toothpicks and slow cooked in a pomodoro sugo. Once cooked, the sugo (sauce) is stirred through pasta and the braciole rolls are served on the side, perhaps as a second course. Here, the ever versatile seitan becomes the ideal meaty substitute.



A few notes on seitan and creating vegan-style braciole:


Seitan is a meat substitute created by first combining gluten flour, liquid, seasonings and then simmered in broth or sauce and even steamed or baked. Be sure to source gluten flour, not gluten free. There is a big difference. Gluten flour is a high protein, low carb flour that has had all its starch removed. This process creates a type of flour that mimics a meaty texture when combined with liquid and kneaded for a short time. You will find gluten flour ('vital wheat gluten' as its often called) in specialty food stores, some good supermarkets and maybe even from your local bakery (if you're on friendly terms with them).


 

Whilst the process of making seitan may seem a little daunting at first, it won't take long to get the hang of it and become a seitan master. I can now whip it up easily and quickly, proving practice does make perfect. The list of ingredients might seem curious, though they are curated in this recipe for maximum flavour. Stick to the quantities in this recipes as much as possible, don't go improvising too much on this one, it can mean the difference between a successful or hugely disappointing seitan. But if you're finding your dough is a little too wet, add a dash more gluten flour. And vice versa, too dry, a dash more liquid stock or water.


 

One of the ways to successfully cook seitan is to slow cook it in sauce or broth at a very low simmer. If the seitan cooks too quickly at a fast boil, the result can be a fluffy, over-expanded texture. So cook on your lowest stove top setting. This is the method we'll be using with our braciole. Braciole rolls are often secured with kitchen twine or toothpicks. I find with seitan that the rolls remain secure without these tools. But for nostalgia's sake, you may wish to use the toothpicks or twine.


 

Slow Cooked Braciole in Pomodoro Sugo


INGREDIENTS


Pomodoro sauce

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

900ml passata or diced canned tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

few basil leaves, optional


Seitan dry ingredients

2 cups gluten flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano


Seitan wet ingredients

1 scant cup of liquid stock

1/4 cup oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons tomato paste (or BBQ or tomato sauce, even hoisin sauce works)

1 heaped tablespoon Vegemite (Promite or Marmite)

1 teaspoon liquid smoke


Braciole Stuffing

slices of garlic, approximately 1/2 garlic clove per roll

chopped fresh parsley

nutritional yeast flakes or vegan parmesan (optional)

salt and pepper to season


2 tablespoons oil to fry


METHOD


Pomodoro sauce


Into a large pot, heat the oil over a low-medium heat and add the garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, ensuring it doesn’t brown. Stir through the passata or tomatoes, salt and basil leaves if using. Cover and simmer over a low heat stirring occasionally.


Seitan