It’s the dead of winter here in New Zealand, we woke up this morning to a hefty frost which froze the bitter rain that fell on our driveway yesterday. The kids had a ball slipping and sliding around, however I had to stop them lest they fall and cause themselves an injury. They looked pretty cute in their puffer jackets, hats and gloves, smashing puddles, throwing ice at one another and just generally wreaking havoc. Thankfully they didn’t need a clothes change right before we needed to leave this time!
It’s times like this we all start to crave familiar, warming, comfort food. Last night I had a hankering for sausages that just wouldn’t quit. I have tried to make vegetarian sausages before but they have always turned our grainy and gritty and just, yech. The thing was I made a bunch of them too because they were such a mission, and I had to eat them because I just can’t waste food. I just can’t. So we slogged through them, and even though there is still a couple left in the freezer I decided it was time to try again.
And boy am I glad I did. I adapted this one from my new favourite blog, the Post Punk Kitchen, and this recipe is by far the closest to sausage texture you can get. I’m not talking artisan numbers, I mean the precooked ones you always get at barbecues that you slap in bread with sauce that remind you of summer. The taste wasn’t the same (that’s not a bad thing IMO), but if you squinted your eyes you could almost imagine it was a handmade creation from the deli, just without anything having to die. Covered in a mushroom gravy however, they were entirely convincing. I am so making a huge batch this week to freeze for sausagey goodness all winter long.
Because I was making ‘chicken’ seitan at the same time for tonight’s dinner because it uses a lot of the same ingredients, I braved the cold wind and driving rain to snip some straggly fresh herbs that were just clinging to life in my garden. Fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley were a bit of a treat to add at this time of year.
You can just use dried if you like, or if you’re lucky enough for it to be summer where you are, you may have some growing. If so, I’m not at all jealous of you 😉
You can use canned chickpeas for this recipe, but it is so easy to cook and freeze your own chickpeas for when you need them. I happened to be cooking a batch of chickpeas in the slow cooker the day I made these sausages. I had soaked them overnight, then in the morning I rinsed them, covered them with water, threw in some garlic powder, rosemary, a whole onion with the root on so it’s easy to discard afterwards and 2 ‘beef’ cubes.
Turn the slow cooker on low, and all day you get gorgeous rosemary and garlic wafts throughout the house. Not quite as convenient as canned, but so easy to do. Just soak, rinse and slow cook. When you get home, cooked chickpeas. Too easy.
I was so excited about the creamy mashed potato, sausage texture together with rich mushroom gravy, I almost forgot the vegetables. Almost.
Now that’s comfort right there. I didn’t even mind doing the dishes afterwards, because they were such a success, and I was still on a high from finding the best vegetarian sausage recipe, ever. Yay!
So without further ado, here is the recipe.
- 1 C chickpeas
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 C vegetable broth
- 2 t chopped fresh herbs or 1 t dried mixed herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme etc)
- 3 t organic miso paste
- 2 T tomato paste
- 4 T soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
- ½ t liquid smoke
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2½ C gluten flour
- 2 t smoked paprika
- 1 medium potato per person or two small
- Knob of butter
- Splash of milk
- Pink salt and fresh pepper
- 2 C sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium onion sliced into strips
- Packet of organic 'beef' flavoured gravy
- Put your steamer on to boil while you get the sausages ready.
- If you are making broth from bouillon, boil the water and add the cubes. If you are using homemade or boxed stock, heat the stock to a simmer in the microwave.
- Dissolve the miso and steep the herbs in the stock for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, liquid smoke and pepper.
- Wizz the chickpeas in a blender with the garlic cloves until smooth. Add the chickpea paste to the stock then leave to cool.
- In another bowl, mix together the gluten flour and the smoked paprika. Make a well in the dry ingredients and tip in the cooled broth. Mix well and knead in the bowl with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes.
- Divide the mixture up to make 8 sausages. I cut the mixture in half, then those 2 in half, then the remaining 4 in half again.
- Rip off 8 pieces of tin foil, enough to wrap each sausage lengthwise. Shape each piece like a sausage, wrap in foil and twist the ends like a boiled sweet.
- Steam for 40 minutes. Fry lightly in a grill pan to get the authentic barbecue grill marks.
- Peel and boil the potatoes until they are soft
- Add a knob of butter, salt and pepper and mash until there are no lumps.
- Add a splash of milk and beat with the masher until they are creamy and smooth.
- Fry the onions and mushrooms in a little oil until the mushrooms are browned.
- Add in the gravy and cook until it is thick.