Pretzel Crusted Tempeh with Wheat Beer Gravy
We had realized that it had been ages since we had anything like a traditional Schnitzel. While it’s something we enjoy, for some reason, we don’t make it very often. We had some tempeh from Rhapsody Natural Foods and a bag of pretzels we were enjoying for a driving snack and thought we’d try combining the two. We served it with some German-style braised cabbage and a fantastic potato and carrot mash.
The procedure for breading anything is pretty well the same, but the trick comes in keeping one hand for touching the item when it’s in dry ingredients (the flour and the pretzel crumbs), and the other hand for when it’s touching wet ingredients (the chickpea flour paste). Your hands stay cleaner and the final product ends up looking neater.
Try to select a wheat beer for the gravy. It is milder and will pair nicely the rest of the flavours. Try not to use a hoppy beer, as the bitterness can be too much.
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- 8oz tempeh, cut into 2 pieces then split horizontally to yield 4 pieces total
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup ground pretzels. Use a food processor to grind regular pretzels down to coarse crumb-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 6 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup beer, a wheat beer is perfect, nothing hoppy
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme leaves
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon malt vinegar, or cider vinegar instead
- Combine the panko and ground pretzels and place in a shallow bowl or plate
- Whisk together the chickpea flour and water to make a thin paste. Place in another shallow bowl or plate
- Place the flour in a third bowl or plate.
- Arrange the bowls/plates as follows: flour, chickpea flour mix, pretzel mix. Place another plate at the end to receive the breaded tempeh.
- Using one hand, dredge a tempeh piece in the all-purpose flour, shaking off any excess. Place the tempeh in the chickpea flour mixture. With your other hand, flip the tempeh a couple times until it is fully coated. Allow it to drip off for a moment then transfer it to the bowl with the pretzel crumbs. With the hand you started with, coat the tempeh in the crumbs, pressing down on it to help them adhere. Transfer the breaded tempeh to a plate and repeat with the other pieces.
- Heat the oil in a small pot until hot.
- Add the onion and garlic and sweat until tender, about 5-6 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and let it cook for a couple of minutes, or until it begins to smell nutty.
- Stir in the wheat beer and vegetable stock along with the nutritional yeast, dry thyme and nutmeg.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes or until any raw flour taste has cooked out.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Dijon mustard and vinegar.
- Season with a little salt and pepper and keep warm while you finish the tempeh.
- Heat a large non-stick or seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat until hot. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Carefully add the tempeh pieces to the hot oil and allow to cook undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until the breading is a nice deep brown.
- Flip the tempeh and cook for another 3-5 minutes on the second side.
- Serve topped with the Wheat Beer Gravy. We served it with some German-style braised cabbage and a potato-carrot mash.