Every now and then when I want to try a crazy vegetarian experiment and I’m not sure how Bob will feel about it, I search for something to pair it with that I know he will love. He knows I do it, so I’m not in too much trouble when he reads this. Although in all honesty, he generally doesn’t mind my experiments, and he is always willing to keep an open mind – and give me an honest opinion.
I kind of wanted sloppy joes, but I had BBQ sauce in the fridge that I needed to use up because homemade BBQ sauce does not last forever. It lasts a darn long time, but not forever. I have also been looking for meat substitutes for a while and while quinoa and faro work great in a lot of instances, they aren’t always the right texture, or they don’t hold up to the sauce as well as I might like. Tofu is great, but in any crumbly texture recipe it doesn’t work as well and I don’t want something mushy. When I came across a recipe for sloppy joe seitan, I was all in, but then changed it to mock pulled pork (knowing full well it will taste NOTHING like pork). To pair, I decided to make beer battered onion fries and I have to admit, as good as the seitan was, the onion fries were the star of the show. I may have to make these on a fairly regular basis as they were such a hit.
The recipes here are really simple and putting it all together took no time at all. Ok, the fries did take a while since I fried them in a pan and had to do small batches, but otherwise, this was a great weeknight meal. I loved the flavor and texture and Bob actually said it was good – not pulled pork, but still really good.
- BBQ sauce:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1-2 tablespoons adobe sauce
- 2 teaspoons mild vinegar (apple, sherry, rice)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced or pureed
Mix all ingredients together. Use a food processor or blender if you are including a chipotle pepper in the sauce, otherwise just mixing well will work fine. Flavors blend overnight, so if you can make this ahead of time it is better. For vegans, delete the honey and add maple syrup or agave instead.
- Beer Battered Onions
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 onion, sliced thin
- peanut oil for frying
Combine beer, flour and salt into a shallow pan. Batter should be think enough to coat the onions, but not so think that you can’t work with it. Think paste from kindergarten, maybe slightly thinner.
Slice the onions as thin or thick as you want them. Coat the onions in the batter. You may need to work in batches depending on how large your pan is.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and when a drop of batter can be dropped in a sizzles, add onions, but do not over crowd them. Cook for a few minutes until the bottoms like like they are browning, then flip and cook for a few more minutes. (I’m being vague because every batch I did had a different timing – anywhere from 2-6 minutes a side)
Remove onions from oil and allow to drain on a paper towel. If you want, salt them while hot more of a french fry/onion ring taste.
- BBQ Seitan:
- 1 package seitan
- bbq sauce from above
- onion fries from above
- bun of your choice (I used onion bread buns)
Crumble seitan in a small bowl and spoon over 4 tablespoons bbq sauce. Mix well and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes. Heat pan and when hot, add seitan plus 1/4 cup more bbq sauce. Cook until heated through on medium heat, about 7 minutes.
Top seitan onto 1/2 bun and top with a few onion fries. Use more fries as a side.