'Round Thanksgiving, I read enviously of any number of veg-friendly treats developed by north American bloggers. Then Michael found Bronwyn's tofurkey recipe and we made a pact to give this faux-bird a go together before parting ways for Christmas. On Saturday morning we stocked up on ingredients - one and a half kilos of tofu, herbs, cranberries and chestnuts. Chestnuts! If only I'd realised this tofurkey was so similar to the pecan-stuffed one in the Age, I might not have splashed out on that bafflingly expensive can of chestnuts.
Not that I was too regretful - we'd set all of Saturday aside to follow this recipe to the letter. Michael had even bought cheesecloth!
The cheesecloth is used to line a colander, which moulds the tofurkey. The outer layer of 'white meat' is made of tofu, blended with herbs and stock powder. We were lucky with the variety we bought - it was quite firm and blended into a malleable dough. But the water needs to be squeezed out to ensure it makes a firm shell. This takes a couple of hours.
This is plenty of time to make the stuffing - the typical savoury base of onion, carrot, celery and breadcrumbs is flavoured with herbs and a sweet mix of apples, chestnuts and dried cranberries.
Then more tofu goes on top and gets pressed down...
... before the terrifying tip-over! You can also mould tofu drumsticks and wings for a more turkey-like look, but we found that we needed all of the tofu to wrap around the stuffing. Besides, the tofu 'meat' is a little bland and dry - it's at its best with a generous serving of the stuffing.
Finally, this 'bird' needs glazing - with a fab concoction of port, balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses, wholegrain mustard and more herbs.
Just look at how that glaze bakes up! It's glorious.
It's quite a pleasant sight in cross-section too.
We served our tofurkey with instant vegan gravy, carrots and beans, and zippy warm potato salad.
I liked it even better as leftovers on sandwiches - I ate mine with tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.
While the tofurkey is certainly pleasant to eat, I wouldn't recommend the hours of work it takes simply for its flavour. I think it's well worth the effort, though, for the event. As much as the eating Michael and I enjoyed building and anticipating the meal, then sharing our showpiece with friends and family.
For the recipe, check out YISBLOG.