Move over '90s hairstylings, The Rachel is now a sandwich. It's a sister to the Rueben, with pastrami or turkey replacing the corned beef and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. It's modified further by Steen and Noyes into a day-saving vegan sandwich with baked marinated seitan and barbecue sauce.
Honestly, this sandwich is a solid day's work. First there's the chicken-style cutlets (which I adapted due to the usual U.S. vital wheat gluten/ Aussie gluten flour disparity), balls of super-gluten dough that are baked in broth for an hour and left to sit for at least two more.
Only then are the cutlets ready for marinating (1 hour) and more baking (30+ minutes). Still, they pop out sizzling with a crust of caraway and fennel seeds, dyed red with paprika and saucy with evaporated pickle juice. Yes, pickle juice. And it works.
This sandwich gets saucier still with Thousand Island dressing on the coleslaw and a recommended quarter cup of barbecue sauce per sandwich. I probably used less than half that and still found myself licking dribbled condiments from between my fingers.
After three weeks elsewhere, I was glad for a big kitchen project and we were both glad for the sandwich fillings in the fridge, ready to go all week.
(adapted slightly from a recipe in
Celine Steen & Tamasin Noyes' Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day)
2 cups gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon chicken-flavoured stock powder
1 cup vegetable stock, cold
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pickle juice
2 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds, ground
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
First you need a seitan dough. In a large bowl, stir together the gluten flour, yeast flakes, chickpea flour, garlic, onion powder, white pepper and stock powder. In a medium bowl, stir together the stock, vinegar and oil. Pour these wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients, combining them with a fork to form a dough. Add a little extra gluten flour or stock if needed. Knead the dough for about 4 minutes (I did this right in the bowl) and stretch out those gluten strands.
Preheat an oven to 150°C. In a large, high walled baking dish, whisk together the five broth ingredients.
Divide the gluten dough into 10 balls. One at a time, place the dough balls between two sheets of baking paper and roll them out to ~6mm thick. I found my dough to be quite elastic and often had to pull at the cutlets so that they weren't too thick. Plonk each one into the baking dish and don't worry if they're touching or overlapping a bit. Cover the dish with foil and bake the cutlets for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and allow them to rest in the oven for a further hour. Remove the baking dish from the oven, transfer the cutlets to absorbent paper and reserve the stock.
Use the empty baking dish to whisk together the marinade ingredients, adding 1 cup of the reserved stock. Toss in the cutlets and slather them in the (very liquid) marinade. Allow them to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
Turn the oven up to 200°C and bake the seitan in its dish, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn the cutlets over and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce clinging to the cutlets. Slice the cutlets thinly to use as a sandwich filling.
Team the thin seitan slices with coleslaw and barbecue sauce on rye bread to make a Rachel.