Braised Seitan with Onions and Fresh Herbs

Serves 6 / Succulent, hearty, and wholesome, seitan is wheat gluten made from whole-wheat flour. This substantial main course provides abundant protein and is an ideal fall or winter meal. Serve atop mashed potatoes flavored with garlic and rosemary.

1-1/3 cups dry sourdough bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, and oregano
2 pounds seitan
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds onions, cut in 1/4-inch crescents
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, or thyme
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons mirin or dry sherry
Vegetable stock or water

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a shallow pie dish, combine bread crumbs and dried thyme, basil, and oregano. Slice seitan in 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Brush liberally with olive oil and dredge in crumb mixture. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. (Seitan is already cooked, so this merely crisps the bread-crumb coating.)

2. Combine onions, garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper with olive oil in a 10-inch sauté pan. Cook over high heat until vegetables begin to sizzle. Reduce heat to low, add mirin or sherry, cover, and simmer for 20–30 minutes or until onions are very soft. Stir often to prevent sticking.

3. Spread half of the onion mixture on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer seitan slices, then top with remaining onions. Add enough stock or water to barely cover onions. Bake, uncovered, until onions are lightly browned on top, 15 minutes.