In my previous posts, I talked about a quick menu at a restaurant in Mexico, consisting of a bowl of comforting bean soup, and a BBQ sandwich, and how it would be easy to adapt and reproduce at home, with non-perishable ingredients and pantry staples; I also shared a recipe for my bean soup as the first course.
In this post, I am sharing my recipe for the second course, a BBQ sandwich; to list only cupboard items, and to offer a vegetarian option for the Christian Lenten season, I used canned young green jackfruit instead of cooked, shredded beef.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, called jaca in Spanish) is a tree originally from India; its giant fruit looks very exotic, with spiky skin and sweet pods containing edible seeds (photos below from Wikipedia):
When still green, pods, seeds and also the flesh surrounding the pods are used as a popular and very helpful substitute for meat, in many vegan recipes for stews, tacos, and as in this case, as a “pulled no-meat” product. I bought a couple of cans at an international market a few weeks ago, for when my vegetarian daughter came to visit, and they have come very handy these days, in light of the current pandemic situation. The photo below shows the can I opened for this recipe:
The photo below shows how the jackfruit chunks look, after draining the brine:
The piece at the centre shows how some of it naturally shreds. There are some seeds wrapped in pods, which might not shred easily, as well as the middle of the sections. I separated them from the shredded strands:
This step is not necessary, but I wanted the texture of my filling to be as close as possible to shredded meat, so I covered the small bowl, and reserved in the fridge for another use (the flavour is very mild, so add to stews, a stir-fry, or cook with a sauce, for tacos.)
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich –
Sandwich de Jaca en BBQ
Ingredients (4 portions)
1 can young green jackfruit; drained and shredded
1 tsp dry oregano (preferably Mexican, or use marjoram)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or beer)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce*, chopped, plus 1-2 tbsp of adobo (to taste)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (homemade, or if not available, use soy sauce)
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dark molasses
½ onion; peeled and sliced thinly
1 tbsp oil
4 pieces crusty bread, such as baguette sections or bolillos
Pour vinegar (or beer) over the shredded jackfruit (photo below, left) and then sprinkle with oregano and half a teaspoon of salt (photo below, right):
Mix all the ingredients together, cover bowl and let rest for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the Mexican BBQ sauce by placing tomato paste, chopped chipotle and adobo, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire (or soy) sauce, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper and molasses in a bowl:
Mix thoroughly, and reserve.
In a large pan, warm up oil over medium heat; add onions and sauté until they become translucent and start to caramelize. Add marinated jackfruit, deglazing with the liquid, and scraping any burnt bits from the bottom of the pan (photo below, left); mix with onions and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Stir in reserved Mexican BBQ sauce (photo below, right):
Continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring occasionally (photo below, left). Meanwhile, open sections of baguette (or buns) in half, lengthwise, and lightly toast. Fill the toasted bread with BBQ jackfruit, once most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan (photo below, right):
Serve immediately (shown below with a bowl of bean soup and tortilla chips):
Mexico has declared one month of strict social distancing, so I guess now it will be not just me having a fantasy about eating the Quick Menu at that restaurant. However, my homemade Quick Menu really hit the spot, and vanquished some ninny fears I had that the absence of fresh produce and meat would make it insufficient.
Chipotles are ripen jalapeño peppers, dried and smoked; they are often prepared in an adobo sauce, and sold canned. Once opened, it is very convenient to transfer to a non-reactive container or bottle, and store in the fridge, to use as needed: