Sunday, September 20, 2015

PULLED (Your Leg) SHREDDED BBQ (VEGAN, BABY!)


This is where I get hit by the proverbial lightening. I live in the homeland of pulled pork BBQ. In fact, if the wind shifts slightly south east, I get wafts of one of the best BBQ places in Tidewater Virginia, because it is literally 1/4 mile right through the woods from my house. But hey, I am all about tilting windmills, so here goes . . . VEGAN BBQ! Yes, VEGAN BBQ!  Seems like an odd concept, but think about it, if you grew up loving pulled pork BBQ, but have chosen to be vegan, you probably really miss it. SO I have made up a vegan version, and it is tangy, sweet, hot, has lots of texture, and is made with very basic things anyone has in their kitchen or can easily get at their markets. I focused on a smokey, slightly hot, sweet but vinegary sauce, but you could also make it with any flavors you wanted. The shredded part is easy, and the sauce is totally adjustable, even as you cook this.

So here it is before I forget what I did:

1 pint of fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
a few Tbl. olive oil
1 large potato, peeled

Sauce*:
(check labels to make sure it is vegan, no animal products of any kind)
1/4 to 1/2 c Ketchup  or tomato paste
1/8 c molasses
4 Tbl vinegar
1/2 tsp dried chipotle powder
5 or 6 slices of pickled jalapeno slices
salt
pepper
2 tsp raw sugar

*these are all approximate, see the end section about balancing out your flavors. This recipe can come out fairly hot.

Cut the onions into very thin wedges, and separate all the crescents. Thinly slice the mushrooms, and then cut the slices into matchstick shaped pieces. This does not need to be exact, but you want everything to mimic the same shred shape. Peel and chop the garlic.


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the onions start to caramelize and the mushrooms soften. Salt and pepper to taste. Now you are going to kind of build the sauce around the ingredients in the pan. Squirt in a couple of circles of ketchup, a small circle of molasses and about 4 Tbl of vinegar.


Stir, and let this simmer together for a couple minutes. Chop about 5 or 6 slices of pickled jalapenos and add those in. The mixture should be a bit soupy.


This is when you grate the potato and stir into the pan.
 
               
Let this simmer for a few more minutes and add in about 1/2 tsp. of powdered chipotle, which will add some heat as well as some smoky flavors. Simmer for a few more minutes. You will see the sauce is thickening with the potatoes, which should cook quickly because they are shreds. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. See note below for adjustments to the sauce, and once you get the flavor you want, let it simmer a few minutes until the flavors are all balanced and the shredded vegetables are all cooked through.

At this point, taste your sauce and if it's too sweet, you want it more acidic, in which case, add a little more vinegar, or a little pickling juice from the jalapenos. If it seems too hot and too acidic, add some more ketchup, a little at a time. If you want more heat, add more jalapenos, or more smoky chipotle powder. I just kind of taste and adjust at this point because if you are using commercial products like ketchup, they all taste a little different. Today this almost got to the taste I wanted but needed a wee more sweetness. I did not want a strong molasses taste so I added 2 tsp of raw sugar. This kind of BBQ is often served on a bun with a tangy coleslaw, and for a vegan coleslaw it may be more vinegary that mayonnaise based, so consider the balance of the BBQ with the overall sandwich ingredients. I kept mine sweet and hot because I anticipate a more vinegar based coleslaw.

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