My love affair with Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan continues. You know that wonderful feeling of getting lost in a piece of fiction? It’s two a.m., and you look at the clock and wonder how it happened? Well, I haven’t quite lost sleep over Viva Vegan, but it’s still a page-turner. From one recipe to the next, I keep earmarking and salivating. I love the diversity of recipes, and how she embraces spices. I’ve also enjoyed being introduced to some items that are new to me. In this case it’s chipotles in adobo sauce (or as it said on the can “chilpotles” in adobo sauce). While chipotle was the flavor darling around 1998, I haven’t used it much, except for a smattering of the smoked chipotle that takes residence in my spice cabinet.
I started off the New Year with a batch of Chipotle, Seitan, and Potato Tacos. The recipe incorporates the white seitan from the book. Terry suggests using either white or sweet potatoes, and I went with sweet potatoes. I highly recommend going that route. It’s a wonderful balance of spicy and sweet. (Although, this dish has a lot of spiciness, it’s not hot. It’s tangy and smoky.)
The seitan was marinated in a marinade of Mexican beer, chipotles in adobo, adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, lime juice, and olive oil. It felt a bit like I was channeling the spirit of Julia Child while I cooked, sipping a Pacifico with lime at noon since the marinade calls for only ¾ cup of beer and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. You know what they say – when life gives you lime and beer… Or as Julia said, “I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food I’m cooking.”
After the sweet potatoes finished roasting in the oven, the seitan was cooked in a grill pan until brown and crisp. The next step in the recipe is to fry the potatoes with a bit of the marinade, but I skipped over the frying step, which seemed unnecessary since the potatoes were plenty brown and crisp from roasting. I just warmed then in the pan with the marinade for added juiciness and flavor. The tacos were topped with salsa, shredded cabbage and fresh cilantro.
According to the directions in Viva Vegan, it will take an hour to make the dish, but it only took me about a half an hour (not including the time spent making the white seitan). That makes it a completely reasonable weeknight dish, and best of all, it reheats fantastically well. Next time I’m thinking of making a double batch. It was gone much too soon. The tacos were really phenomenal. I highly recommend them.