Thanksgiving Soy Curls and Gravy

A couple of weeks ago I won a package of Butler soy curls from Somer over at Vedged Out.  I love soy curls.  They are versatile and cooperative to work with.  This time I needed them to step up in a big way.  Let me explain….

Yesterday I made the weekly trek to the health food store.  On my list was our Thanksgiving entree.  We’re reading labels more carefully these days than ever before due to increased allergies.  (Hubby and I really should avoid wheat and my sil cannot get a hold of anything from the cruciferous family or the sunflower/safflower seed/oil family.)  It was time to really check out every single ingredient in the roll we buy once a year.  Now, mind you, this single time out of the year we have been known to wink at some egg whites for this particular tradition.  (GASP!)  However, not only did our traditional long-looked-forward-to entree have eggs in it, but now it had non-fat milk, too.  Oh, and did I mention that vital wheat gluten plays a major roll in its creation, as well?  *sigh and ugh*  I called hubby to get his opinion on what to do.  This was, after all, just about his only tradition that matters to him (that and frosted sugar cookies at Christmas) and he has not wanted to give it up in the past.  He told me, “Hon, I trust your creative powers to whip up something great to replace it, either with soy curls, or something else.  We can try it out this week and if we really aren’t excited by it, then we’ll visit the possibility of buying the roll of fake stuff.”

How can a girl not take up such an encouraging challenge?  🙂  I bought some portabella mushrooms and headed for home.

The jury was divided on this dish.  Out of 5 of us, 2 loved it, 2 thought it was okay, and 1 said that with extra salt it was pretty good (this from the guy who salts everything before he tastes even it.)  One of the guys asked if I could do half this way and half BBQ!  lol

I think when I make this on Thanksgiving, I will tweak it a little bit more.  I am going to add an extra tablespoon of chicken-style seasoning into the soy curls (already included below), and toss in a little bit of minced garlic.  Perhaps one of your favorite dried herbs could make an appearance in it, if you wish.  If you experiment, please let me know what you do.

Thanksgiving Soy Curls

  • 2 c. water
  • 2-4 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, depending on how salty you want it to be
  • 4+ T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 c. soy curls
  • 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil

In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven, combine water, Bragg’s, and seasonings and heat on high.  Add soy curls and toss.  When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and continue turning the soy curls over and over until all of the water is absorbed.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.  In the same frying pan, saute the mushrooms and onions in the olive oil until softened.  Transfer the soy curls back to the frying pan and mix everything together.  Continue heating everything until the soy curls are toasty warm again.  Serve with gravy.

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This gravy recipe is mildly adapted from a cookbook called Vegetarian For Life (although I believe all the recipes in it are actually vegan.)

“Chicken” Gravy

  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. brown rice or barley flour (I recommend the barley flour if you are not gluten intolerant.  In a pinch, you could use whole wheat, but the flavor pales in comparison.)
  • 3 T. chicken-like seasoning
  • 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 4 c. water

In a 2-quart saucepan, mix the oil with the flour and chicken seasoning.  Stir in the Bragg’s.  Gradually stir in the first 2 cups of water until it is smooth and getting thin; then add all of the last 2 cups.  Heat, stirring often, and finally stirring constantly as it begins to thicken.  When it boils, turn the heat down and simmer to desired thickness.

This can be made a day ahead ~ just be aware that it will thicken upon standing, so you won’t want to simmer it very long.  It will thicken some as you reheat it.

Barley Flour Biscuits (wheat free)

These are simple drop biscuits that I like to use as a base for strawberry shortcake or under a tasty gravy.  They are not a light, fluffy, Pillsbury pop-out-of-a-can biscuit copy.  They aren’t bricks, either, but are full of whole-grain goodness that gives sturdiness to a simple meal of strawberry shortcake.  (Whole wheat flour ~ I especially like King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour ~ can be substituted for the barley and coconut flours, though you may wish to decrease the milk and baking powder a little.)

I like drop biscuits, because I’m more likely to make them if I don’t have to roll out dough and clean up the counter afterward.  Some people are really into the process of making food ~ and I applaud them.  We need those chefs and marvelous in-depth homemakers/bakers/cooks.  I love to cook and love good tasting food, but if it takes too long to make, I tend to skip it entirely!  There are just too many things clamoring for my time.  When I learned that my family didn’t notice a difference in drop biscuits vs. rolled-out ones, I never rolled out another biscuit.

The 2 biscuits pictured show 2 options – spooning up and treating the dough like a huge drop cookie (left), or taking that same amount of dough in damp hands and forming it slightly into a smoother, somewhat formed biscuit (right.)  If you use more dough, you can form the biscuit so that it has a higher profile so that it can be split in half more easily.  I am going to do that next time.

Barley Flour Biscuits (wheat free)

  • 1 1/2 c. barley flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. evaporated cane juice crystals (optional – use for shortcake biscuits)
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil OR 1/2 of an Earth Balance vegan buttery stick
  • 1 c. non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 450° and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in coconut oil (if it is warm at your house and the oil has liquified, you can either harden it up in the refrigerator before hand, or you can melt it and whisk it into the non-dairy milk that has been brought to room temperature) OR vegan butter substitute into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until everything begins to look a bit crumbly and like there are tiny clumps that easily break apart when mashed with the blender.  Stir in the milk all at once with a fork, making sure that you get the flour in the bottom of the bowl that tends to hide there.  It will look way too runny at first, but it will firm up.

Drop or form into approximately 10 biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and the bottoms are golden brown.  Serve right away under gravy, or cool for strawberry shortcake.