This is a Chinese whispers of a recipe. A friend of mine got it from a friend who got it from a friend who might have got it from a Slimming World or Weight Watchers meeting. No one seems to have written it down, though. And each person seems to have fiddled around with it.
Mine is a vegan version – the friend who passed the recipe to me eats meat. And she likes chilli – I prefer paprika’s smokey taste. She didn’t use tomatoes – I thought it was a bit bland and dry without when I made it the first time, so added tinned tomatoes and chucked in a bay leaf second time around. That pepped up the creamy butter beans no end.
Anyway, go ahead and fiddle to your heart’s content. It’s very simple, has a pleasing texture and really benefits from good paprika. In fact, the hardest part of the recipe was getting my posh new tin of Spanish paprika open without showering it over me and the kitchen!
One red onion, sliced
One red pepper, sliced
Tin of butter beans
Three or four veggie/vegan sausages
Small tin of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil/olive oil spray
Smoked paprika – i used about a teaspoon and a half
Sea salt and black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
Sweat the onion and red pepper in a little olive oil/olive oil spray, depending how healthy you are trying to be. Tip in the butter beans and the chopped tomato, add the bay leaf and cook gently. In another pan, fry the sausages. When they’re done, cut them into bite-sized chunks and add to the main pan. Add the smoked paprika and the other seasoning. When everything is warmed through, fish out the bay leaf and serve with chopped parsley. I paired it with baked potatoes, but creamy mashed potato would work nicely as well.
Now it might appear that this blog (or this blogger) is obsessed with sausages. It’s not completely true, but my experience in going vegetarian is that is has taught me the importance of mouthfeel when you’re eating. One of the pleasures of eating meat is not just the flavour but the dense chewiness it brings. That sensation in the mouth is difficult to replicate in vegetarian cooking and that’s one of the reasons for the proliferation of meat substitutes in the veggie world. Sausages are one of the most varied types of this mock meat and you can see from this I have enjoyed trying out different ones. However a quick look at the ingredients list of these sausages often leaves you wondering if you’re cooking or taking part in a chemistry experiment. (Actually, I used to know a biochemist who called cooking ‘bucket chemistry’.) Wouldn’t it be nice to make your own vegetarian sausage where you know exactly what is in it?
I found this recipe for seitan sausages. Now, I’ve tried making seitan before – a process that involves a lot of kneading and rinsing – and I couldn’t see how you could put any flavouring in the dough that wouldn’t get washed away in the making of it. However, this recipe uses Vital Wheat Gluten, which means all the kneading and rinsing work has already been done. I looked for it in various health food shops, but couldn’t find any until I finally tracked down a source on Amazon.
Having made the sausages, I like them. They have a chewy texture and a great savoury flavour. They get a nice crisp outer edge when fried and they hold their shape when sliced. I haven’t tried cooking them for longer than it takes to heat them up in a pan with baked beans, but I suspect they’d hold up reasonably well to a longer simmer. Best of all, I know what’s in them and I control their flavour (I’m already looking at the smoked paprika and chilli powder and considering a chorizo version).
I know this is a recipe for the dedicated vegetarian/vegan, but once you have the vital wheat gluten flour the recipe is really just a question of mixing and shaping. And if you have child labour to hand, I’m sure they’ll love rolling the sausages.
400g tin butter beans, drained
150g wheat gluten
1 tbsp garlic granules/powder
1 tsp veg stock powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Marmite
150ml cold water
Mash the butter beans (or whizz in a food processor) until you have a smooth paste.
Put the beans in a bowl and add the dry ingredients.
Mix the wet ingredients in the water. If you need to use warm water to get them to dissolve fully, leave it to cool before adding it to the rest of the mix.
Add the wet ingredients to the mix and stir until you have a pliable dough.
Divide the dough into 8 parts.
Roll the each part into sausages about 10cm long.
Wrap each sausage in kitchen foil and twist at the ends.
Put in a steamer and steam for 30 minutes.
Take out of the steamer and leave to cool in their foil wrapping.
The sausages are fine to eat immediately, or they can be fried, mixed in with baked beans or pasta sauces etc.