Oh, hot pockets. I remember you from my childhood, but not because I ever ate you. I remember your commercials interrupting reruns of Saved by the Bell. I remember seeing you in freezers at friend’s houses (frozen processed treats were for the rich, I used to think). But I honestly, can’t remember ever eating you. But if I did, I hope you tasted like this.
Though I’m not sure I ever had a hot pocket, the commercials made it seem that there are several key things in play:
- A flaky, golden pastry crust which somehow stays crispy even if microwaved.
- Various vegetables masked by cheese
- Gooey cheese to bring it all home
I am quite pleased with the result of this hot pocket experiment. While I baked mine in the oven as opposed to microwaved or fried, I felt the shell was the right amount of flaky and crunchy, but thin enough to let the ooey gooey ingredients stand out. Once they are baked you might be able to microwave them, but several minutes in a hot oven might be a better choice unless you want a soft crust.
I promise, all the pieces below only seem complicated! Do not be deterred. In fact, I broke this up over several days. The seitan chicken I made earlier in the week and have used in several recipes, so I had some extra on hand. The nutritional yeast sauce only takes a few moments and can be stored and reheated as needed. The shell for the hot pockets takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare and 20 to chill, or it can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. Use what you have on hand, though. If you have tofu, sub tofu for the seitan. If you have zucchini stir fry leftovers, sub that for the broccoli. It’s your kitchen, dear hearts.
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. veggie oil (or non-dairy margarine)
½ cup cold water
Combine flour, salt and oil or margarine. You can do this in a food processor and pulse until well combined if you’re all fancy-like, but I prefer a more “hands on” and less “cleaning blades later” approach. I just put my ingredients in a large bowl and mix with my hands until the flour takes on a cornmeal-like texture. Pour in your water and mix with a wooden spoon to form the dough. Add the water slowly so you don’t make the dough too wet. (Though you could always add more flour or water as needed). You want a dough that will form into a ball shape, but you don’t want it to be sticky. Spray with cooking spray or roll in oil and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.
If you have a favorite recipe or store-brought brand, go for it, amigo. No judgment. But this is the recipe I’ve become fond of. The whole thing tastes like chicken soup!
1 cup gluten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 1/2 cup water
Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. In a measuring cup, combine 3/4 cup water and soy sauce. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry and mix quickly with a fork. Knead with your hands for several minutes and then let rest for 20 minutes. Come back and knead some more until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Fill a large pot with lemon juice and water. You can also add more soy sauce if you like (I’m terrified of saltiness so I usually tread lightly here). Divide your gluten mixture into 4 to 6 pieces that are approximately chicken breast size. Flatten and tug to take shape. Drop them into the pot and turn on the heat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and cover for about 40 minutes. Drain well and push out extra moisture when cooking.
Warm the oil on medium heat in a saucepan. Saute broccoli and onion for about 10 minutes or until the onions are clear and broccoli is soft. Stir in your seitan chicken pieces and cook until warm. Remove from heat and spoon into a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast sauce and cover until coated.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Divide your shell dough into four pieces. Roll one flat into a 6″ square (or close enough). Spread several teaspoons of broccoli mixture into the center. Fold up the top of the shell over the mixture, then the bottom and then each side. Press along the seams to hold the dough in place. Flip over and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Increase the heat to 400 degrees in the last several minutes for a crispier crust.