Polenta and sausage. A classic, rustic dish that in the olden days on Sears Ave, could be made (and devoured) in no time flat.
Traditionally, it is prepared either with soft or firm polenta, homemade sausage and a rich tomato gravy (all topped with freshly grated parmesan). The incorporation of fresh, seasonal veggies is a great way to round out this otherwise super-heavy meal – while using up the abundance, that despite your best efforts, you still haven’t been able to fully give away to friends and co-workers.
For this particular batch I grilled what was available: giant brussel sprout leaves, yellow and purple eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and sweet green peppers.
No squash? Ok, if you must know, for some unknown reason ALL 15 of my yellow squash and zucchini plants perished after their first and only yield this season. And no, I don’t want to talk about it just about as much as I don’t want to think about this next bit of truth: the sausage Papa-boy just about exclusively ate, was hand-ground in his brother’s garage and encased by intestine.
Warning, this veganization takes about two hours, top-to-tail, if made from scratch – as was done below..
SEITAN SAUSAGE & CHEESY POLENTA W/ GRILLED GARDEN VEG NAPOLEON
Foreword: There are four components to this dish – roasted tomato gravy, seitan sausage patties, cheesy polenta rounds and grilled garden veggies. They will be broken down in this order, starting with the item that requires the most amount of time to prepare to the least.
Roasted Tomato Gravy
See recipe here.
Seitan Sausage Patties(inspired by many-a-faux meat, care of Vegan Dad)
-1/3 cup of any kind of cooked bean (kidney, negro friole, navy, butter, etc)
-3 squirts bragg’s (liquid amino)
-1 tsp Gravy Master
-1 1/4 cup of ital (vital wheat gluten)
-1/8 cup nooch (nutritional yeast)
-2 shakes ground sage
-2 shakes garlic powder
-1 tsp whole fennel seed
-3 twists of pink Himalayan (or 1 tsp sea salt)
In spice blender:
-2 tsp fennel seed
-2 tsp multi-colored whole pepper corns
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 cup pipe punch (h2o) in slow increments
-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (for browning patties)
-measuring cup (for dry ingredients)
-large metal mixing bowl
-coo-chah(d) (serving spoon/scraper)
-medium sautée pan
Start boiling water for your steaming apparatus.
With a masher (or fork) whip beans in a large mixing bowl along with wet ingredients (sans water) and make a savory, brown slurry (yum). In measuring cup measure ital, nooch and add seasoning. Whisk.
Add the dry to the wet and fold together with cucchia(d). Slowly add water a few drops at a time. The dough should come together, but form a slightly slick exterior.
Do not use all of the water if not needed. If too wet, sprinkle in a little bit more ital, but don’t over mix or dry it out.
Tightly roll dough into a thick tube and wrap with foil, twist ends to get a proper “skin” on the outside of the log. Remove foil and with a serrated knife cut into 8, 1/3″ rounds.
Wrap each patty in small pieces of foil, flattening each side with your hands. Crimp every edge securely, to prevent seitan explosion.
Place in steamer and allow to steam for about 45-50 min.
Bring sautée pan to medium-high heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. Brown sausage patties for about 90 seconds each side.
-medium-sized mixing bowl
-cucchia(d) aka stirring spoon
-6″ round non-stick baking pan
-large platter (for flipping polenta)
-9 oz. dry polenta aka corn grits (about 1/2 package)
-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (plus 2 tbs for greasing non-stick pan)
-1/4 cup nooch (nutritional yeast)
-6 twists of pink Himalayan (or 2 tsp sea salt)
-3 shakes garlic powder
-2 cups pipe punch (h2o)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In medium mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and blend.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil, stirring to incorporate it as evenly as possible.
Add water 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to make polenta smooth and silky.
Desired consistently is somewhere around slightly thicker pancake batter.
Pour polenta into greased non-stick pan, smooth off the top with cucchia(d) and bake off for about 20-25 minutes or until top is firm to the touch.
Remove from oven and set to low broil.
Cover pan with large platter and flip polenta cake up-side-down onto it’s surface. Slide back into pan and quickly broil the bottom side until it too is firm.
Remove and let cool.
Use a 2″ round cutter (juice glass) to press out circular forms from polenta.
Set aside until ready to build.
Grilled Garden Veggies
-walk in to garden and harvest whatever is ready
-cut in to 1/2″ thick pieces and baste in olive oil
-grill and set aside until ready to build
Using polenta as a base, lather the roof-side of rounds with roasted tomato gravy and stack a seitan sausage patty on top. Gravy, veg, gravy, veg. Alternatively grease about 8 ramekins and build in reverse: veg, gravy, veg, gravy, veg, gravy, sausage, gravy, polenta. Create water bath in papa pan and bake off at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes to allow layers to set. Flop ramekins on to serving plate, top-side-down and remove napoleon (may require a knife’s assistance around the edges).
Garnish with fresh basil and a dollop of roasted tomato gravy.
Yields 8 napoleon.