In our house, this dish signifies the beginning of fall. It's named after the Normandy region of France which is famous for (among many other things) its apple brandy. The brandy, called Calvados, is also named for the region in which it was first distilled centuries ago, and continues to be made there. Although Calvados has many applications, both sweet and savory, in food or drink, this one is by far my favorite.
For this recipe, you'll want to get started on the seitan first. Click here for full instructions and step-by-step photos on making seitan. Cut the seitan into chunks.
Put the seitan in a sealable container like a zip-top plastic bag or a plastic container with an airtight lid. Add some flour and shake until it's well coated.
Now fry the seitan in margarine until lightly browned, doing so in several batches. When you're done, there will be a mixture of margarine and flour on the bottom of the pan. Leave it on there! You have created one of the cornerstones of French cuisine: a roux. I bet people told you making a roux was hard. They were wrong. The roux will be used to thicken the sauce you are about to make in the pan.
Add a little olive oil and brown the onions. Then introduce the Calvados as well as some regular old apple cider. It all boils down before you put in some fresh apples. They grow a lot of apples in Normandy, in case you haven't figured that out already.
Cook the apples for a while in soy creamer, then add the seitan back in along with some fresh thyme, letting it all simmer scrumptiously together. This dish pairs well with some green beans or other crunchy green veggie. Bon apétit!
Important: Be sure to give yourself enough time to cook the seitan. For a quicker recipe, you can use store bought seitan.
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable broth powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup flour
2-4 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise into 1/4” thick wedges
1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
2 cups apple cider
2 medium Fuji or Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup soy creamer
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prepare the seitan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a lidded casserole dish with non-stick spray. Combine flours, nutritional yeast, spices and vegetable stock powder in a large bowl. Mix the water, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Adjust amount of water or gluten as needed (see tip). Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then form into a loaf. Place the seitan in the casserole dish and cover with 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Flip the loaf, then cover and cook for another 40 minutes. Remove the seitan from the dish and allow it to rest until cool enough to handle. Cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Prepare the sauce. Combine the seitan pieces and flour in a sealable plastic bag or container, then shake until the seitan is well coated.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a large pan over medium heat. Discard any extra flour from the seitan pieces and sauté them in batches for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, being careful not to overcrowd the pan and adding more margarine as necessary. Set seitan aside.
- Do not clean out the pan. The flour and margarine used for browning the seitan should leave a darkened roux which will be used to thicken the sauce. Stir in the olive oil, then add the onions and cook for 7 minutes or until they begin to brown.
- Add the Calvados and stir to deglaze the pan, then simmer for a minute or so, or until it’s reduced by half. Add the cider, bring to a boil and cook 6-7 minutes or until reduced by half again.
- Add the apples and cook for 2 minutes or until just softened. Add the soy creamer and simmer the sauce vigorously for 10 minutes to thicken. Stir in the seitan, thyme salt and pepper, and cook 2-3 minutes longer or until heated through.