Fauxchinita Pibil – Spicy Roasted Seitan Recipe
While seitan is obviously not a traditional part of Mexican cuisine, this wheat-based meat substitute makes a great stand in for pork, chicken, and beef in many Mexican recipes. Much like its fellow meat substitute tofu, wheat gluten readily absorbs the flavors of sauces and other ingredients. It is preferable to tofu in many dishes due to its chewier texture, which is much closer to that of slow-cooked meats.
In this recipe, seitan takes the place of pork in the Mexican favorite Cochinita Pibil. Seitan performs admirably here, picking up the flavors of the annatto, garlic, citrus, fiery, and fruity habanero and smoky de arbol chilies, which give the dish it is spicy, tangy, savory appeal.
Even the most dedicated carnivore will love this pulled pork substitute. It is wonderful on top of rice, as a filing for burritos or tortas or just piled onto a warm corn tortilla with a little chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa. Traditionally, the pork used in this recipe is cooked in banana leaves, but seitan does not require this and this step has been omitted here.
The spices are combined with orange and lime juice to make a paste, and this is what you will use to marinate and flavor your seitan. It is then baked in wine until done. Let it cool for a few minutes when it comes out of the oven because it will be very hot, and then serve it sliced or else grab a couple of forks and shred it, then you can serve it with corn or flour tortillas, and all your favorite Mexican accompaniments.
Seitan is something a lot of people have not tried, but it is definitely worth trying because you get not only a meaty flavor (and something also suitable for vegetarians) but seitan really soaks up flavors, so it is the perfect protein to marinate.
- 2 lbs seitan, drained
- 6 cloves garlic (more can be used if desired)
- 1 tsp oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 1 tsp epazote, finely chopped (can be omitted if unavailable)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp Achiote Rojo (if unavailable, you may substitute 1 tbsp sweet paprika or simply omit)
- Juice of 6 small limes; about ¼ cup
- ? cup orange juice
- 3 de arbol chilies
- 1 habanero pepper, minced (if less heat is desired, remove the seeds, ribs, and rinse well)
- ½ cup dry red wine (not cooking wine; Tempranillo or Cotes du Rhone are both good choices)
- ½ cup water
- 12 corn tortillas
- Chopped cilantro, chopped onion, sliced avocados and the salsa of your choice
- This is a recipe which you will need to start early in the day if you plan to serve it for dinner or better yet, the night before. Start by crushing the annatto, garlic, chilies (remove the stems first), oregano and salt and combine with the lime and orange juice to make a thick, but still spreadable paste. This can be done in a food processor to save time.
- Unlike the pork-based traditional version of this recipe, you do not have to worry too much about your paste being a little thin – the seitan will simply absorb any excess liquid.
- Add the seitan and paste together in a bowl with a tightly fitted lid and stir or shake well to coat. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours (though overnight is best). When you are ready to start cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and pour the marinated seitan, wine and water into a covered baking dish.
- Bake for 2 hours, uncovering the dish for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Check periodically and add a little more water or wine as needed to prevent the seitan from drying out.
- Remove the dish from the oven and allow seitan to sit uncovered briefly.
- Using long forks (and wearing gloves for protection), shred the seitan; it should be soft enough to be pulled, just like slow cooked pork. Serve while warm with corn tortillas, chopped onions, cilantro, and the salsa of your choice.
Fauxchinita pibil is the vegetarian answer to cochinita pibil. Traditionally made with pork but, in this dish, made with seitan, you can expect some amazing flavors in every bite. The seitan is allowed to marinate and then cooked in the oven with red wine. The finished dish maybe be served sliced or shredded, along with tortillas, Mexican sides like avocado, cilantro and chopped onions. If you want to try something Mexican and also vegetarian, this is a nice dish to choose because it blends a variety of typical south of the border ingredients and yields a full-flavored result.
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