2 new experiments in one!
I mentioned below that I ran the slow cooker out on the balcony recently; well this is what I made.
I slow-cooked some pulled pork for a potluck and I wanted to also do a vegetarian version since there were two people coming who were semi-veggies. All of the recipes I could find used either jackfruit or seitan. I ended up using both, starting with the jackfruit and then adding the seitan later.
This is what the canned jackfruit looks like:
The recipes all specifically call for unripe/immature canned jackfruit in brine;
you wouldn’t want to start with the sweet mature canned fruit in syrup (hmmm… maybe next time, and then omit the brown sugar in the recipe… ANYWAY…). After checking my usual markets I finally found jackfruit in the little West Indian run convenience store near me.
The jackfruit gets shredded and well rinsed to get rid of most of the brine, and then you squeeze/drain out as much of the remaining water as you can. This gives you something that looks slightly like shredded meat (and, unprepared, tastes like artichokes!), although it cooks up a bit more tender, closer to cabbage.
Shredded and drained, with one whole piece remaining at top.
I used the same seasoning recipe that went on the pork and cooked it with some onions for 5 hours in the slow cooker [on the balcony].
The results weren’t bad but they were somewhat disappointing. Nothing caramelized like I had expected it to and it looked and tasted very much like the sauced onions you get on hotdogs, or cabbage… tasty in its own way but not particularly savory, and not a meal.
I then chopped and added a package of seitan (imitation chicken flavor) and some tempeh as well (imitation bacon flavor, oh yeah!). I also tweaked the sauce a lot and put it back to cook on high another 2 hours. If you try this and your favorite sauce mixture includes the addition of vinegar or beer (both in mine), reduce or omit them. Something in the jackfruit does not need it – likely due to the brine.
The vegetarians liked it and - more telling - the omnivores ate it as well (not to say that the pulled pork was ignored!).
Here is the recipe after all changes (although it still needs to be tested in this incarnation):
(For a 4-6 quart slow cooker)
3 cans young jackfruit in brine, rinsed, drained, and shredded
1 (6 oz.) package of Seitan (chicken style), cut in rough ½ in. slices
1 package (3 slices?) tempeh “fakin’ bacon”, chopped (or possibly ¼ cup of soy bacon bits instead, crushed)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
Sauce (or use your favorite mixture, without vinegar or beer)
1 cup commercial barbeque sauce (I know….tsk)
½ cup ketchup
½ cup molasses
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp minced garlic
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Combine everything in slow cooker, cook on high for 3-4 hours. Taste and adjust sauce and seasoning as needed. Keep on warm setting until ready to serve. Serve on sandwich rolls or hamburger buns or on rice.
Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of the final product. It looked very much like pulled pork - dark sauced shreds - the shreds were only a little shorter and thicker than those in the meat batch.