“Son, he said, grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.”
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I have previously asserted my allegiance to Team Gabriel in the Great Genesis Debate. Granted, some of the Gabriel-led Genesis albums are a bit twee and have possibly not aged well, but there is no denying they were all just experiments leading to the brilliance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, perhaps one of the all-time great concept albums. His solo work, especially his solo debut that this theme song comes from, has a deep connection to the epic Lamb era while continuing to explore the intersection of pop and art-rock. For a late ’70s high schooler raised on Midwest Top 40 AM Radio, this was a revelation. Familiar and yet also like nothing I’d ever heard. It’s due to this album that I even discovered the Gabriel-era Genesis and Lamb. Of the four self-titled solo albums, my vote goes to 2: Scratch as the best, but this first Peter Gabriel album was a life-changing moment.
The lyric quote above sums this recipe up perfectly. This is a “take me back home,” as in childhood, recipe. My mom was an okay cook in the grand scheme of things, but she certainly stuck to the now cliche standards of the day. My ’70s dinners were often mac & cheese, Midwest goulash, or Swanson’s Salisbury Steaks. Granted, those Swanson’s were some sort of pseudo-sous vide but the memory of those ground meat steaks soaked in a “mushroom gravy” has stuck with me for years.
This is the first “full meal” recipe I’ve posted to this project (and probably the last), and while I hate the term “elevated,” it is in fact an elevated TV Dinner. I originally planned a sandwich concept, but Cherie (of We Can Tour That fame) asked during the R&D why wasn’t this a TV Dinner, and honestly, I couldn’t disagree. So that’s this recipe. Everything that might make up a Hungry Man TV Dinner, slightly elevated, and served stunt style on a lovely cafeteria/TV dinner/prison tray.
This may seem like a lot of moving parts, but most of them are fairly simple cooking. They are also, mostly, short cooking times. This is a perfect Sunday meal “spend the day in the kitchen” project listening to the first four Gabriel solo albums and dropping deeply into culinary nostalgia.
SOLSBURY HILL TV DINNER
Salisbury seitan with mushroom gravy, roasted garlic & mozzarella mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, caramel apple compote, and cornbread
Makes 4 servings
Salisbury seitan with mushroom gravy (see recipe below)
Roasted garlic & mozzarella mashed potatoes (see recipe below)
Glazed carrots (see recipe below)
Cornbread (see recipe below)
Caramel apple compote (see recipe below)
SALISBURY SEITAN WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
Makes 4 servings
For the seitan
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup cooked small red beans
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon MSG
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the seitan marinade
2 scallion, white & greens minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup strong coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the mushroom gravy
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
10-ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade, as needed
1 teaspoon soy sauce, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Make the Seitan
Add all of the seitan ingredients to a food processor except the vital wheat gluten and blend into a smooth sauce. Add the vital wheat gluten and blend until well mixed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed until everything is well mixed. There will be some dry spots but that’s ok.
(Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor you can first mash the cooked beans with a fork or potato masher, then add everything together in a large bowl and mix well.)
Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and begin to knead it together. It may be a bit crumbly at first, but keep kneading it for a few minutes until it comes together into a tight ball. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes on the counter covered by a clean towel.
After the dough has rested, knead it for 2-3 minutes. Then cut the ball into 5-ounce pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll out each section into 1/2″ thick steaks. The dough will be very tough and stretchy, but just keep working at it until you get your desired steak-like shapes.
Put the seitan in a steamer basket and cover with a lid. It’s ok if they are overlapping a bit. Steam for 28 minutes, flipping the seitan halfway through so they steam evenly. They will double in size. Remove from steamer and let cool for 15 minutes.
Place the seitan in a large ziplock bag or air-tight container, mix the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking, or even better, overnight.
Cooking the Salisbury seitan
Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Place the seitan in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, brushing with the marinade, until browned. Remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Making the gravy
In the same skillet (don’t bother cleaning), increase the heat to medium-high and heat the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in vegetable stock, a little at a time, until a smooth sauce forms. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes until thickened. Season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
Place the seared seitan in the gravy and toss to coat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes.
ROASTED GARLIC & MOZZARELLA MASHED POTATOES
2 medium to large russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon roasted garlic (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 scallion (green part only, sliced fine)
Peel and dice the potatoes. Place them in a large stockpot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce temperature to medium and cook until tender, about thirty minutes.
Drain water and place potatoes in a mixing bowl (or you can do this in the pot if you want).
Roughly mash potatoes with a potato masher or spoon. Add milk, butter, salt, pepper, and roasted garlic. Mash again until butter is melted and everything is thoroughly mixed.
Stir in cheese and scallion greens. Serve immediately.
1 head of garlic
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.
Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected. Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.
Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. The exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.
When done, let the garlic cool slightly and then serve. Press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper. Roasted garlic can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
1-pound of carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place the carrots in a large pan and add 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring the carrots to a simmer
Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Drain off any excess water. Add the butter, brown sugar, and salt to the pan. Stir to coat the carrots. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until a sauce has formed.
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and 8×8 baking pan or dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and combine with the buttermilk. In a separate medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Melt the butter.
Add buttermilk & egg mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until very few lumps remain. Add the melted butter and whisk until fully blended and there are no lumps.
Pour into the greased baking pan or dish. Bake 30-40 minutes or until knife inserted comes out dry.
CARAMEL APPLE COMPOTE
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups diced apples (roughly 1/2-inch), unpeeled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Melt butter In a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and brown sugar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, or until apples are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon and ginger.