Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Anatomy of the Celebration Roast

The idea of making the Celebration Roast was a slow simmer - customers, friends, family were all "encouraging" me to make something that was stuffed for Thanksgiving; something to be served on a platter. I resisted for a few years but finally relented. My intention in making Field Roast has never been to make fake animal meats - from the first batch up through the present day, Field Roast's "paradigm" is to be what it is: a vegetarian grain meat. I had always avoided making a holiday food because I didn't want get involved in the fake-turkey world. Besides, there were already some great products like Tofurky and Now and Zen...why make another one? Tofurky is stuffed with a breaded stuffing, comes extruded in a clipped casing and Now and Zen had a wonderful skin made from soy bean milk skimmings which is similar to the skin of a turkey. Tofurky is now making their 900,000th roast! Phew!

The final straw came for me in 2003 when, for the second year in a row, a large customer suggested AGAIN....why not make a stuffed roast? Many of our food service customers were serving our Hazelnut Herb Cutlets for Thanksgiving but they wanted something that could fit as a centerpiece f or their Thanksgiving "to-go" meals.

Making the Celebration Roast was a snap for me. In fact, the whole recipe came to me in a flash - unlike some of the products at Field Roast which have taken months or years to refine. Call it good grace - "Thanks carrots, butternut squash, earth, rain, sun, moon, friends and family!" We are now working on our 200,000th... that's a lot of roasts in three years!!!

The Celebration Roast is made up of two major parts; the outer meat and the inner stuffing.

If you haven't had it, I would describe it to you by saying it's "A charcuterie styled stuffed grain meat roast with a sausage style stuffing made with field roast, butternut squash, apples and mushrooms." That's the short version, here's the more in-depth one.

The outer meat is a rich grain meat seasoned with lemon juice, sage (lots), pardina lentils (can you see them?) and other such elements. The base, as always, is a wheat flour that has had the starch rinsed out of it. It's a simple process: at the mill, a wheat/water dough is made and then rinsed with water to carry the starch away; what is left is pure grain protein....or approx. 78% pure protein....the flesh of the earth, vital wheat gluten flour. This can be made today using the old school techniques , but in that technique all the flavor comes from the broth that the meat is simmered in. Nowadays, we can flavor the meat itself; fresh garlic, lemon juice, herbs and spices, etc. I digress....In the Celebration Roast, the outer meat is rich ( we add expeller pressed safflower oil) now we have the outer meat, next is the stuffing.

The stuffing is a "sausage style stuffing". As you may know, we make sausages at Field Roast. We make 'em the old fashioned way ( one else does in the veggie world) by making a grind. We make grinds all day long at Field Roast....Smoked Tomato grinds, Wild Mushroom grinds, sausage grinds, etc.

A grind is a simple food and is the base of our sausages and of the Celebration Roast. The Celebration Roast has two different grinds; one made from our Smoked Tomato Field Roast and one made from Lentil Sage....can you see them in the above picture? We place the grinds in our huge mixer bowl and add all kinds of fresh cut vegetables; butternut squash and sliced mushrooms, then some diced apples, herbs, spices, oil, some wheat flour and voila....our stuffing! to put it all together.

We place the outer dough in a cotton netting...then stuff it with our sausage, butternut squash, mushroom, apple mixture. It's all a really simple process. You will notice that every Celebration Roast is a little different....that's because they are all stuffed, one by one.....and not co-extruded like other, more mechanical looking products are. We have one person who stuffs these roasts, and that's why they are all just a little different from each other.

Once stuffed they are placed on a sheet pan and lightly steamed in our oven till perfection has been achieved....once out of the steamer, we dip them in a spicy broth for added flavor and finish...that's why our Celebration Roast is so rich AND brown AND you can see the netting marks.

After cooling down, we "peel" the netting off the loaves, cut them in half (if they are our 1 lb loaves) and/or leave them whole if they are going to be two lb loaves.

Finally we pack them in our vacuum packer and label them......voila!

From our kitchen to yours!

Have a sweet Thanksgiving.....

To check out the full stats on our Cele Roast....check out the info!


RECIPE: Celebration Roast En Croute Pastie

Here is a delcious new recipe for our Cele Roast.

There is a tradition in the world of meat to surround a piece (of it) with a flaky crust (puff pastry). In England, were my mother (mum) lives they call them Pasties or Cornish Pasties. They are the original fast food; self contained, wrapped in a flaky outer crust, take them where you go.....these foods are often served in pubs, on trains, etc.

Earlier this year, when I was in England visiting my parents, I spied a vegetarian version of this traditional food at my local Sainsburys made from Quorn. If you don't already know, Quorn is the leading veggie meat in England. It's made from mushrooms (go figure that?) and its quite's not vegan, though....they use egg whites for a binder. Anyway, their pastie was quite delicous - they call it En Croute....and I've often thought of doing something like this with Field Roast (yes...BEFORE I had the Quorn version).

I began by julienning some carrots, celery and red bell peppers (I wanted to use onions but didn't have any in my fridge). I lightly sauteed them, hit them with a pint of salt to bring out the moisture and slowly finished them in a mild braise....for accent I added a tinge of curry, cooked them a little longer, then took it off the heat. I seasoned up the vegetable mixture with a little bit of whole cranberry sauce and chutney (Cross and Blackwells Pear Cardamom version). yum....sweet, whole cranberries, a touch of curry, the spicyness of the chutney...)

I placed a dollop of the veggie mix on top of a 7" by 6" piece of puff pastry (bought frozen from Pepperidge Farms....crucify me! - i think it's vegan...go check)...then on top of the mound of veggie mix I placed an 1/2" slab of our Celebration Roast, then folded the pastry up, pinched to seal, flipped it upside down on a baking sheet so the meat and the folds are on the bottom...and baked it all at 350 degrees til brown....about 30 minutes.

Serve with a green salad....or some mashed potatoes and candied yams.....have some's so good!

For the proper here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

FIELD ROAST FOLKS: University of Puget Sound

Congrats to Lauren and all the food service folks at University of Puget Sound, in Tacoma, Washington for being nominated by PETA for being one of the Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges in America. You guys have been great customers for years....serving our Meatloaf, Sunflower Country-Style Cutlets, our Celebration Roast and bulk Italian sausage...maybe that's what you guys were using in your sloppy joe? Good ole regular food!

Special props to Steven Davis, who really influenced the veggie menus and program at University of Puget Sound left a few years back....

A blurb from the press release:

The delicious selection of smart vegan food at Puget Sound includes vegan cheeseburgers, vegan biscuits and gravy, and vegan Field Roast sloppy joes. Even many nonvegetarian students can’t pass up the vegan dishes, because they look as great as they taste."

Click here to check the full press release: