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Monday, November 9, 2015

Plant-Based version of "Vegducken"

Plant-Based version of "Vegducken"

Here is the original version of this recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegducken

I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by this recipe.  It looked so good, but could I really make it delicious and still have it turn out?  Could I finally find my Achilles heel in this one recipe?  Was it really worth the effort to try and make it "McDougall compliant"?  
Well, I decided that it had to be tried............And I am so glad I did.  Because now I have a new recipe to make for Thanksgiving!  It screams Thanksgiving.  The flavor is amazing and the prep, although a lot, is worth it.
** Read the original recipe first.  It has much better instructions for the basic concept.  I am just going to list what I did, and you can compare the two.  If I tried to re-write this, it would be a 3 page report.  Instead I am going to go through what I did and what I used.
Also, I did not make the sauce for it.  I actually make some great mushroom gravy and found that to be my best choice for me.  I didn't think a minty sauce was for me. (not a fan of mint)
One of the changes I made was replacing the eggplant with a delicata squash.  I loved the flavor and texture.  It didn't get mushy, and I think that the eggplant would have. 
When shopping for the 3 squashes used in this recipe, get them at the same time.  That way you can hold them up to each other and make sure they will fit.   
I did not use nuts in this recipe either.  I wanted to make it as fat free as I could, and I am not eating nuts right now.  You can add them if you would like.

Here is my list of ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, skin washed well
1 medium delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and peeled
1 medium/small zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out, skin washed well

For the filling:

All of the "meat" from the butternut squash.  Mine gave me about 2 1/2 cups
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 8oz. package of sliced cremini mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 medium cooked sweet potato, peeled
1 1/2 cups no oil panko bread crumbs
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax with 6 tablespoons hot water, mixed)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2-2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup black or white raisins 

For the brushing sauce:
1/4c aquafaba 
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
(mix the two together and put aside until you are ready to wrap the squash)



First of all, cut open all the squash, and remove the seeds.  Also peel the delicata squash.  With a paring knife, cut the "meat" from the butternut squash.
Scrape the butternut squash out with a spoon.  Place the "meat" in a food processor and break down.

Pour into a large bowl.
In the same food processor, add the rice, mushrooms, onion, and garlic and blend until almost smooth. (I left a little chunk in it)


Add this to the squash that is in your bowl.  Mix well.
Place a large saute pan on the stove over Medium heat.
Put the mix in the pan, and saute for at least 10-12 minutes, until some of the moisture starts to evaporate.  If the mixture seems too wet, saute a little longer.
Add the sweet potato, and mix into the stuffing.  Cook another 2 minutes. Add all of the spices and the raisins.

Removed from heat, and place back in the big bowl.
Let cool for about 10 minutes.  
While it is cooling a bit, turn the oven on to 400°, and in a small bowl, mix the flax egg, and set aside.
When the mixture has cooled a bit, add the bread crumbs and mix well.
After you mix the breadcrumbs in, you can add the flax egg.  Make sure to mix it in well.
Now, you are ready for stuffing.  This is the fun part.  It is trial and error.  It will not fit right the first time.  Don't get upset.  Instead, get your small knife out and cut corners, trim thick walls, make the damn squash fit together.
Start with the hollowed out butternut squash.  Put about 1/4-1/3 cup of the stuffing in there and spread it out with the back of a spoon.  Make sure it is a nice, even layer.
Then, lay the delicata squash, skinned side down into the butternut squash.  On top of the stuffing.  Now, with a spoon, spoon some stuffing in the delicata and spread it out.  You will now add the zucchini squash and fill the middle up.  You will not spread it out, just smooth it over.
You can add a green onion as the original recipe called for, or nuts if you'd like.
Here is the part where the most patience comes in.  You want to join the two together.  
Do this as close to the cutting board as possible, you will have stuffing jumpers. They will try and squish out the sides.  Let them, we will catch them and reapply.
When you feel they are as "together" as they are going to get, you can wrap the squash with twine, I did not. 
Now, take the aquafaba and garlic sauce and brush liberally the skin of the butternut squash.  On all sides.  If any of the filling fell out, just squish it into the seams of the now sandwiched squash.
I then wrapped the whole thing in parchment paper and then two sheets of aluminum foil.  I wrapped it really tight to keep it all together.
Place into a large loaf pan (I lined mine with aluminum foil too for easy clean-up.
Now place into the preheated oven, and set the timer for 2 hours.  Just walk away.  Nothing to look at but a lump of aluminum foil.  
After about an hour though, your house will start to have faint whiffs of Thanksgiving.  
After 2 hours, your stomach will be screaming at you.  DO NOT GIVE IN.  Eat a potato or something.  You worked hard for this meal, and you don't want to give into temptation.
After 2 long hours, remove from the oven and let it rest.  I let it rest for 15 minutes.  I am glad I did too.  It really made a difference. 
Then, slowly remove it from the pan and unwrap CAREFULLY.  
Place on a cutting board and slice into 1-2 inch slices.
At this point, you can put whatever gravy or sauce you want on it.  
Like I said, I just made a nice mushroom gravy and it was so good.  I was happy I was the only one eating this, I ate half of it without breaking a sweat.
Get creative with your fillings too.  I plan on putting dried cranberries in it for Thanksgiving and maybe I will indulge and add some walnuts.
Most of all, be patient.  This is not an everyday recipe, but one you will love for those special occasions.
Also, I found the skin of the butternut squash perfectly edible.  It was soft and added to the texture of the whole thing. :)
****I have not tried, but I am sure you could make this in a slow cooker, also for those who have an IP and small enough squash, you could probably toy with it. 
I have both, but I will be making this in my oven again for Thanksgiving. 







13 comments:

  1. Wow...once again you rose to the challenge and knocked it out of the park...or kitchen. Thank you for sharing this interesting new addition. To Thanksgiving. Do you think you could make it the day before?

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to know that too - it seems like it would be mushy but I'd have to make it then because oven space is at a premium

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    2. I did a test and left in in my fridge for 2 days after cooking it. I warmed it up at work, it was great!!

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  2. Wow...once again you rose to the challenge and knocked it out of the park...or kitchen. Thank you for sharing this interesting new addition. To Thanksgiving. Do you think you could make it the day before?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. You can make it a day ahead, and then just bake the day of. :)

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  3. I've never eaten the skin of a butternut squash, but I have heard that the delicata skin is edible.

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    1. I have never eaten it either, but it gets very soft. It is wonderful. :)

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My fam is celebrating thanksgiving tomorrow (one day late) and will be eating a plant-based vegducken. Sadly, I was unable to find a delicata squash. Am hemming and hawing over whether to use an eggplant or summer squash. Like you, I was a touch dubious of the eggplant. While I love eggplant, not all members of my family do.

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  6. I made this for thanksgiving and it was really good. I was dubious, but will make this again. Best advice is to carefully select squash sized to fit.

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  7. The Easily experimented with to be able to re-write this kind of, it will be any 3 site record. As an alternative My goal is to proceed through just what I did so and also just what My partner and i employed.Furthermore, I did so not necessarily help make the particular gravy because of it. My partner Click Here and i make some very nice mushroom gravy and also identified in which being my own most suitable choice for me personally.

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  8. I am finally going to try this for Thanksgiving this year. I really do not like mushrooms. Is there ANYTHING else that you think I could use??

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