Hello guys! As promised here I am finally publishing some dishes typical from the region I’m from: Apulia/Puglia!
The dish I’m about to present today is largely consumed in Bari, typically on a Sunday.
But what is a Braciole?
“Braciola” (singular fro braciole) is basically a meat roll stuffed with parsley, garlic and cheese, slow cooked in a simple tomato sauce. The meat used is horse, although many people prefer to use cow meat because they don’t feel ok to eat horses instead (which is a classic meat-eaters disconnection that I won’t comment further on…).
It’s a humble and pretty simple dish that is indeed a real big deal in south Italy!
And of course like any regional recipe there are hundreds of variations, for example, one of the most common fillings can also be lard and cheese, but what I’m sharing today is the version I grew up with as it was used in my family.
In order to achieve a similar texture and flavour to the original, I decided to use the versatile seitan, which is, for those that don’t know, a plant-based meat alternative, made from pure gluten (yes, the protein that we can find in grains and indeed bread!).
I like personalizing and giving birth to my own personal seitan mix, and so far the best combination I’ve tried (that you can also find in these Italian Style Sausages) is the one with pureed chickpeas. Alternatively my second favorite combo is using both chickpea or soy flour to the gluten, as it lights up its texture.
Another pro of using legumes in seitan mixes is that you will be taking a higher amount of proteins through your meal, which is even higher than contained in a non-vegan braciola!
So for our cruelty-free version of this highly loved Apulian dish we have our seitan mix enriched with chickpeas, soy sauce, spices and herbs, finely chopped garlic cloves and fragrant fresh parsley + nutritional yeast (friendly known as nooch) for the cheesy taste (feel free to use your favourite grated cheese, like vegan parmesan as an alternative) as our filling.
After steaming, we will finally pan fry the braciole in some olive oil and onion, for some delicious caramelization, we will add some red wine for extra juiciness and flavour, and we will simmer in a simple tomato sauce (passata or chopped tomatoes) for half an hour, then we will be able to serve it with some side mixed salad or, as a real Barese would do, with some orecchiette pasta and topped with lots of grated cheese.
In the video I made I will – of course – serve it with some grano arso* orecchiette that I brought from Bari last time I visited my family. You can watch the video at the end of the recipe or visiting this link (my new born You Tube channel).
If you decide make this recipe and decide to share it on Instagram or Facebook, don’t forget to tag me for a shoutout
-> @avegtastefromatoz or #aVegTasteFromAtoZ and because I’d love to see your personal takes on my recipes🙂
…for the Braciole…
250 gr Vital Gluten
250 gr Chickpeas
1 cup Fresh Parsley
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
10 Garlic Cloves
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tbsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Dried Mushrooms (grounded)
1 tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Aquafaba (the chickpeas water)
…for the Tomato Sauce…
1 l Italian Passata
1/2 cup red wine
250 ml Water
100 gr Tomato Paste
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. In a blender add: chickpeas, soy sauce, tomato paste, 1 clove of garlic and acquafaba (a couple of tbsp). Blend until smooth and creamy.
2. In a bowl combine the gluten flour with the chickpea mixture, the liquid smoke and all the spices.
3. Add some aquafaba and water until the dough comes together.
4. To prepare the filling simply finely chop the garlic cloves with the parsley. Set aside.
5. Coat your working surface with some plain flour and roll an handful of dough until it is 1/2 cm thick. Place about 1 tsp of garlic and parsley mix and spread it evenly on the disc. Sprinkle some nutritional yeast and close it into a roll.
6. Do the same with the remaining dough (you should make around 12 rolls).
7. Individually wrap each roll in foil sheet. Set up the steamer and cook for 20 minutes.
8. For the sauce: chop the onion and sauté it in a pan with olive oil until tender.
9. Carefully remove the foil from the braciole, then arrange them at the bottom of the pan (if you’d like to replicate the look of the original ones close the ends of each roll with some cocktail sticks).
10. Allow them to caramelize both sides then, when they’re hot, pour the red wine and let it evaporate.
11. Add the tomato sauce, the tomato paste and the water, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
12. Enjoy with a side salad of with some orecchiette pasta as a main dish.