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Ethiopian-style seitan and peppers entree on Meatless Monday

No one's saying you

have

to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.

Seitan is a wheat protein with a meatier texture than some of its meat-replacement cousins (such as tofu); it's also absorbent, so you can infuse it with flavors that replicate meat, too. This spicy dish yields tender seitan chunks that are beef-like in texture and taste.

Although not gluten-free, it's an easy option for recent vegetarians who are missing meat; our unbelievably picky taster thought it came very close to the beef-and-peppers dishes you can get at Ethiopian restaurants.

You will need:

7 serrano peppers (this makes a very hot dish -- cut down on the serranos if you don't like it spicy) Fresh ginger 2 cloves garlic 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup red wine 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 pounds seitan (four packages of the Westsoy cubed version shown here) 2 red bell peppers 3/4 cups rice

First, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F, and start cooking that rice.

1. Crush the garlic cloves. Peel the ginger and chop into small cubes; you should have about two tablespoons. 2. Cut the tops off the serrano peppers and cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to de-seed the peppers (remember, they're hot -- if you use your fingers, don't rub your eyes afterward!). Chop the peppers roughly. 3. Measure out half a cup of red wine. 4. Combine the garlic, serranos, ginger, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, red wine and olive oil in a blender until they form a smooth puree. 5. De-seed and slice the peppers into strips. 6. Arrange the peppers and the seitan chunks in a nine-by-thirteen-inch baking dish. 7. Pour the sauce over the peppers and seitan and toss until everything is coated.

Cover with foil and bake for twenty minutes, then remove the foil and stir everything up. Put the mix back in the oven and bake for another twenty minutes. Serve over rice.

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