Moist and tender vegan "turkey" that can be cooked in the Instant Pot or baked in the oven. Slice the roast or shred it for sandwiches and other dishes. Makes a perfect centerpiece for the vegan holiday table.Technique inspired by and adapted from the Best Vegan No-Turkey on seitankitchen.com
Crumble the tofu into a large food processor with the standard S-blade (see Notes re: food processor). Add all remaining roast ingredients EXCEPT vital wheat gluten and coconut oil. Process the tofu and seasonings into a smooth slurry. Add 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten (180 g), and process for 1 minute.
Remove dough from food processor, and place on a work surface. Shape into a rectangle. Cut it in half, then cut one of the halves in half again. Set one of the smaller pieces aside (¼ of the dough) - this piece will serve as the turkey skin. Return ¾ of the dough to the food processor, and process for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Transfer it to the work surface and knead by hand a few times to make sure it feels firm. Set aside to rest.
Place the "skin" piece of dough back in the food processor. Add 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten, and process for 1 minute. It will be warm and shiny. Set aside.
Shape the larger piece of dough into a log. Twist it until it begins to break or resist (see photo). Fold the twisted log so that it resembles a ribbon. Tuck the right tail underneath, then tuck the left tail.
Now you have a rough ball shape. Repeat the process of stretching out into a log, twisting, folding, and tucking. Holding the dough with both hands, smooth the surface by gradually working the outer edges underneath. Once the top appears fairly smooth, set aside.
Take the "skin" piece of dough, and, like you're handling pizza dough, carefully stretch it into a rectangle (or circle; it doesn't have to be perfect) larger than the roast. Lay the skin out flat. Place the roast top-side (smooth-side) down, on the skin. Begin folding in the edges of the skin, pinching it together, so that all of the seams are closed and the entire roast is fully wrapped. Try to avoid creating air bubbles between the skin and roast.
Rub the outside of the skin with refined coconut oil. This helps the herbs stick, if using, and keeps the skin moist. If using the herb rub, combine parsley and thyme. Sprinkle onto all sides of the roast. Now season it with salt and pepper. Use your hands to lightly pat the seasonings into the skin.
Wrap the seitan tightly in cheesecloth (or parchment + foil, or foil lightly coated with oil to prevent sticking). Make sure there's enough excess on the ends so you can twist and fold the cheesecloth underneath the roast. The weight of the roast will hold the cloth in place.
To cook in the Instant Pot:In a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot, add just enough water to reach the bottom of the trivet. Place the roast on the trivet. Secure the lid, set to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release.To cook in the oven:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If roast is wrapped in cheesecloth (not foil), add about ½ inch of vegetable broth to a high-sided baking dish. (If roast is wrapped in foil, just place it on a baking sheet and skip the step of adding broth.) Sit the cloth-wrapped roast in the broth, and cover the entire dish tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour, then carefully remove the foil and flip the roast. Add more broth as needed so the dish doesn't dry out and burn. Replace the foil, and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove foil to check whether more broth is needed. Leave uncovered and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes or until the center of the roast feels very firm.
Let roast cool for about 15 minutes then remove the cheesecloth. For the best texture allow roast to cool completely, then refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. The next day, let the roast come to room temperature before completing the next step and serving.
For the glaze stir together the maple syrup, soy sauce, and oil, and brush onto the roast. Set oven broiler to 500 degrees, and place roast on a baking sheet. Place on rack in middle of oven so the top of the roast is about 6 inches from broiler. Broil for 7 to 10 minutes or until the skin is golden. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
The roast can also be shredded straight from the fridge and used in sandwiches, salads, sautes, and stir fries.
I use a 14 cup Cuisinart. If using a smaller machine, work in batches as needed after adding the vital wheat gluten. Process each batch for slightly less time than called for, around 45 seconds.
Tofu - Do not use a soft or silken tofu. If at all possible use vacuum-packed SUPER firm tofu for this roast. If you can't find super firm tofu, you can substitute extra firm, but it will need to be pressed to remove the water. An easy way to do this is to place the entire block of tofu on a tea towel. Gather up the ends, then squeeze out as much water as possible.With super firm tofu you'll use half of a 16 ounce package. With pressed, extra firm tofu, use approximately ⅔ of a standard 14 ounce package.Chicken Flavor - Orrington Farms Vegan Chicken Seasoning can be ordered online. Sub a similar product if needed.Two options that may be more readily available in stores are Edward & Son's Vegan Not-Chick'n bouillon cubes and Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base. If substituting Edward & Son's use 2 bouillon cubes; for Better Than Bouillon paste you'll use approximately 1 ½ tablespoons (or 4.5 teaspoons).
Storage and Freezing
Store leftover seitan in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen. Wrap tightly to protect from air, and thaw overnight before re-heating individual portions in a skillet or sauté pan.