Every once in a while I’ll get a craving for something very particular. It doesn’t happen as often but when it does I become a man on a mission in trying to satiate it, especially if I can identify exactly what it is that I am interested in. This one was easy. I wanted lemon-pepper chicken.
Now, of course, I live with a vegetarian. She would let me make the chicken for myself and something else for her, but when we can share something together that’s both of our preferences. In taking the lemon-pepper meals I loved as a kid an applying it to a protein that holds both of our affections seemed like a no-brainer. Seitan is basically wheat gluten alternative to the soy based tofu and takes on flavors really well with a consistency that works well to simulate the texture of meats.
This is basically just a variation of the popular dish 50s cookbooks touted that I refined a bit over the years to be more my style and taste. Because fresh lemons can be inconsistent in their tartness, in their juice amount, and so on there’s definitely not a single way to do this recipe. It’s all about taste. You can use the marinade in the sauce because the seitan isn’t like working with raw chicken where you chance potential contamination if not thoroughly cooked. Also, I use a fresh coarse cracked pepper blend, but straight finely crushed black pepper like what most recipes use is fine too. Despite what I post for the picture, I make my own lemon pepper seasoning fresh, by hand, and don’t use the prepared dry version. The homemade works particularly well in recipes like there where you really want to infuse the flavors and create a sauce out of it for your dish, not just a crust on the protien.
I’ve divided the recipe into parts to make following the steps a little easier but I do most of the prep simultaneously. And, as always, the stock is homemade out of the leftover prepped veggies, so in this case, it actually has a lemon rind included for that extra hint of contextual flavor.
crushed dried rosemary
Finely chop the Onion, celery and bell pepper
Add the veggies to the pot with a small bit of oil and begin to saute
Once the veggies become translucent add the rice and begin to toast it
After the rice is toasted add the stock, usually 2:1 but follow the package instructions
add the pepper, rosemary, bay and finely chopped garlic
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer covered for 45-50 minutes, again according to package instructions
Once the rice is cooked, add the fresh chopped parsley and fluff the rice
Zest of lemon
juice of lemon
finely chopped or pressed garlic
crushed variety of pepper corns
cast iron skillet
Rinse and press dry the seitan
combine the zest and juice of lemon, garlic, crushed pepper and a small amount of oil in the holding vessel and thoroughly combine. It will take more pepper than you expect so don’t underdo the pepper
All the seitan to marinade 20 minutes to several hours
Slice the shallot
Add the seitan and shallot to the hot skillet, retain the marinade
sautee, don’t let either burn but but a nice crisp on the outside of the seitan and the shallot should lightly brown.
Lemon-pepper marinade (from the seitan)
additional lemon juice
stock (same as used in rice)
combine equal parts flour and butter to form a roux over low heat in the saucier
cook the roux to your preferred depth, I usually go somewhere around peanut butter and brick in color so the butter has browned in the process. remember, the darker the roux the lower the thickening power as well.
Once the roux is cooked add the marinade, additional cracked pepper and stock
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, if you don’t bring it to a boil the roux will not properly set with the liquid.
Add additional stock and lemon juice to attain the aprox consistency you want in a sauce
re-season with the pepper and add honey to balance the flavor and continue to simmer
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
very lightly coat the asparagus in oil and salt
place on oven pan and roast for 15-20 minutes until the tips begin to brown
the way I prefer to serve is a bed of rice with the seitan set into it and the asparagus stalks almost tee-pee over the top and then drizzled with the sauce to cover everything. don’t forget to remove your bay leaves, unless you want the person that gets one to do the dishes!