I know, I know. The name “soysage” sounds just awful. Blame Ron Pickarski. Soysage is the name he gives this recipe in his cookbook Friendly Foods. He says that soysage is a vegetarian sausage substitute that makes excellent breakfast patties, meatballs, or a filling for other dishes in which you might use sausage.
- 1 cup dried soybeans (this will yield 2 cups of cooked soybeans)
- 1 piece kombu, about 2 inches long
- 2 Tbs. stone-ground whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 3 Tbs. canola oil
- 5 Tbs. soy milk
- 2 Tbs. traditional yeast
- 1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 Tbs. tamari
- 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- half of an onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried sage or ground allspice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 4 to 8 tablespoons gluten four
- Soak the soybeans in water overnight. Discard the water. Then cook the soybeans with the kombu in about 4 cups of fresh water for about 4 hours. The soybeans should be soft. Drain them.
- Coarsely chop the cooked soybeans and the kombu. Then mix all of the ingredients together until the mixture binds and is of a medium-stiff consistency. Pack the mixture tightly into a stainless steel, ceramic, or overproof glass bowl and cover it tightly with foil, sealing the edges carefully.
- Invert a shallot bowl in the bottom of a large pot and fill the pot with just enough water to cover the inverted bowl. Place the bowl of soysage mixture onto the inverted bowl. Cover the pot, bring the water to a simmer, and steam the soysage for 1 1/2 hours. You may need to adjust the water level during this time. Remove the pot from the heat, let it cool, and then remove the foil.
Pickarski says that this recipe is small–it makes only 3 cups of soysage! He recommends making four or five times the recipe, but I merely doubled it. I couldn’t imagine what I would do with 15 cups of soysage, even if I froze it in small batches as he suggests.
I followed the recipe closely except I was short on whole wheat flour, so I used the larger amount of gluten flour. I used dried sage rather than allspice. (I don’t understand why he gives you a choice, and why the amounts are the same. Isn’t allspice much more intense than sage?)
The steaming didn’t seem to do all that much. The dough was perhaps less floury, but otherwise tasted pretty much the same as before it was cooked. It was a pretty salty taste with a quite strong sage flavor. I didn’t love it but I didn’t dislike it either. I shaped some of the soysage into patties and cooked them in my oiled cast iron skillet. They were fine. They made a pretty filling dinner, but I didn’t love them. Overall they reminded me of the soy burgers my mom used to make when I was a kid. But the flavoring wasn’t quite right. I don’t know what sausage tastes like but I seriously doubt it tastes like this soysage.
Also, the texture wasn’t right. But that was probably my own fault. Rather than chopping everything by hand (as Pickarski instructts) I mixed it all in my food processor, which probably made the mixture a bit too mushy. I guess because of the gluten flour I was expecting the somewhat fibrous, stringy texture of Isa’s chickpea patties. But instead it was more of a thick refried bean texture. Probably if I chopped the beans by hand the soysage would have had a bit more texture to it. But chopping that many soybeans by hand seems like a tedious and messy proposition. Next time I’ll try adding all of the ingredients to the food processor bowl except the bulk of the soybeans. I’ll use the food processor to combine everything, and add most of the soybeans only at the very end and just give it a few pulses to combine.
Pickarski says this is a very versatile recipe, but other than making patties out of it I couldn’t figure out what else to do with it. I looked in the index of his cookbook and other than the recipe it’s not listed. A few days later I found a tempe recipe in the back of the book that calls for soysage. More on that soon.
Derek said he thought the flavor was good but the texture was a little strange.