BBQ Pulled ‘Pork’ (Seitan!)

It was Ben’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and as one of his (many!) presents, I bought him some vital wheat gluten flour. ‘Great gift…’ I hear you cry! But, it was in fact, an awesome gift. Because vital wheat gluten is pretty pricey and it’s not something he’d ever order from himself so he was chuffed to bits when he opened it, mainly because I think he then knew he had many seitan-based dinners on the horizon.

The first thing I wanted to make with the flour was BBQ Pulled Seitan πŸ˜€ We were watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (when are we not) and for probably the 276th time, I watched somebody making pulled pork. It always looks soooooo good! I decided I wanted to recreate it for Benj and what better meat substitute than seitan? Seriously, there IS no better meat substitute. Seitan is chewy, textured and just plain MEATY! And it takes on flavour really, really well.

We decided to turn the BBQ pulled seitan into an entire American evening, complete with Disney videos on Youtube (our newest obsession) Β and summer-y drinks. To accompany the rolls, we made chilli cheese fries and had onion rings, corn on the cob and coleslaw on the side.

First up, I had to actually make the seitan! I used the Fat Free Vegan BBQ Seitan Ribz recipe as I figured I was going to be chopping the meat up into little pieces at the end anyway.

Here are the dry and wet ingredients ready to be mixed…Ben said it looked pretty disgusting. He is correct.

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The dough comes together very quickly and is super hard to knead. It doesn’t knead like normal bread dough, it kind of just forms a ball and then stays like that. I couldn’t really flatten the shape or make it fit the size of the tray like the recipe said to, so I just formed it into a rectangle and left it! Onto an oiled tray and into the oven for 15 minutes; I had no idea what was expected to come out but hoped for the best.

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I think it looks a bit like brains :/

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15 minutes later I pulled what can only be described as a BEAST out of the oven. Eeek! This photo was taken as it had started to deflate too, it was HUGE!

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We flipped it over and popped it back into the oven for 5 minutes to give it a chance to CALM THE HELL DOWN.

When I took it out again it was slightly less terrifying and I was able to baste it with BBQ sauce and put it back into the oven for its’ final hit of heat. The next time I took it out, it actually looked pretty good! And it smelled AMAZING. So if you do try this recipe, you just really need to persevere with the seitan because it is a funny old thing but it does come together eventually.

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Close-up! See, appetising!!

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I left the seitan to cool for a little while before I sliced it up. Whilst I waited, I indulged in a little of this:

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(Passionfruit juice and vodka)

And Benj indulged in a little of this:

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(Margarita)

It was Saturday night! Hey, can you tell we like Disney? I’m not sure it’s obvious enough.

Once about 10 minutes had passed, I sliced up the seitan into lots of small chunks. I wanted to get the look and feel of pulled pork but it was tricky because the seitan didn’t ‘pull apart’ as such, I just had to do it manually. But once it was all doused in BBQ sauce and sticky, it really looked the part.

 

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I then popped it into a pan and fried it on high for a few minutes to encourage some crisping and browning of the edges, before adding a liberal amount of BBQ sauce. It all came together beautifully in the pan and with a bit of added water to make the BBQ sauce go further, it was starting to look fantastic.

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See?

We served the pulled seitan with the aforementioned sides and I was so pleased with how it turned out. Ben never thought he’d be able to sample this authentic American delight and here he was, with a plate in front of him!!

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For the chilli cheese fries, I just used some leftover frozen chips we had in the freezer, topped with veggie chilli (veggie mince, taco seasoning, chilli powder and passata) and my homemade nacho cheese sauce which I have perfected over recent months and I’m now very proud of!! It’s a basic roux, with added plastic cheese slices, garlic and a few glugs of brine from a jar of jalapeno peppers. The brine gives it a lovely heat and to me, it tasted exactly like the plasticy nacho cheese sauce found in many an Orlando restaurant/quick-service place. Try it, it’s so easy! We tried to buy Squeeze Cheeze to make our lives even easier but tragically, Asda didn’t have any 😦 I topped the cheese fries with some chopped spring onion, but you have to call them scallions to make it all authentic and American.

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We then have corn on the cob, beautifully cooked by Benjamin with liberal amounts of butter and salt and some oven baked onion rings, which I dipped in sour cream. A lot of sour cream. Like, half the tub. I served the pulled seitan on buttered white rolls as although this goes against everything I’ve ever been told about carbs (go brown wherever possible) that is how they are always served on TV. I topped them with some coleslaw (not homemade as we really couldn’t be bothered to wash the new food processor we have recently acquired) – plain for me and a mango jalapeno variety for Benj.

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This was a proper, trashy, down-home American meal and we absolutely loved it. Better still, we made enough for two nights so enjoyed exactly the same treat the following evening! Best Bank Holiday ever!! If you are a vegetarian just gagging to experience the full, unadulterated beauty of pulled pork, please try these. πŸ™‚

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Pretzel Pie


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It is not often I make desserts, but when I do, I try to ensure they involve as many of my favourite ingredients as possible.Β As soon as I saw this pie, I knew it was meant to be. Chocolate? Good. Peanut butter? Goood. Cream cheese filling and pretzel base!? Gooooooood!

I originally came across a version of this pie on Come Dine With Me (which is on in our lounge 90% of the time) and when Dave Lamb listed all the ingredients, I suddenly started paying a lot more attention. The actual recipe was on the Channel 4 website but as with all CDWM recipes it was a bit wishy washy and this, coupled with the fact that under every entry Channel 4 writes something about how none of the recipes are tested so you could be gambling just like the contestants on the show, slightly put me off. I set my sights on finding a more refined version on t’interwebs.

And this is it! Nadia G’s Peanut Butter Pie from her show Bitchin Kitchen, which is coincidentally starting on Food Network in the UK tonight! I got really excited when I saw the advert as I’d spent all week obsessing over this pie and reading reviews, blogs etc of the show and her book. She seems like a pretty hilarious chef and her book has got great reviews so I’m excited to watch her show later on.

So, the pie. The recipe can be found here,Β although I did tweak it slightly as I found the ingredients weren’t enough to fill my pie dish. Disaster. Although, not really, as I ended up almost doubling the recipe so we were eating chocolate peanut butter cream cheese pretzel pie for days, which is in no way a bad thing. Although it is quite bad for my diet. Which ended on or about January 3rd, but that’s another story.

The pie crust consists of whizzed up salted pretzels, brown sugar and melted butter. Do pie crusts really get any better than that?

Not sure why I took a photo of this, possibly to show my delightful tablespoon/teaspoon measuring cups?

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Here is the pie crust, all mixed together. This is when I ran into difficulties; I realised this was not going to fill my pie dish so I added more and more pretzels, butter and sugar until it seemed like a good amount.

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I then smoothed the mixture into the dish and all up the edges to form a lovely pretzel-y crust.

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See?

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I popped that into the fridge to chill while I worked on the peanut butter filling. This is a no bake pie, so all it involves is a bit of chilling!

The peanut butter filling consists of smooth PB, cream cheese, whipped cream and brown sugar. Again, I wasn’t sure the amounts would fill my dish so I doubled them. I got to use my brand new American measuring cups which Ben bought me in Asda and make me feel like the Barefoot Contessa. ‘Add a cup of heavy cream!’ etc. She says that all the time, trust me. (Barefoot Contessa is on in our lounge the 10% of the time Come Dine With Me isn’t.)

All the goodies in the bowl!

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I mixed all these up and then carefully folded in the whipped cream. The recipe calls for 35 percent whipping cream but I just used double and it worked fine. When I was finished, I swirled the peanut butter filling into the pie dish, put it in the fridge to chill and started my final layer, the chocolate whipped cream.

This required the melting of cream and chocolate in a bain-marie which I then chilled for a couple of hours in the fridge, before whipping together using my little hand mixer. I spread the mixture on top of the pie dish and ta da!

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I took it to our friends’ house that we were staying at over the weekend and I have to say, with the chocolate shavings on top I was pretty impressed with how it looked!

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And I was even more impressed when it actually held together as I sliced it!

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The pie itself was incredibly rich and creamy; I don’t actually enjoy fresh whipped cream all that much (I know, I’m weird) so it wasn’t really the ideal dessert for me. But, our friends absolutely loved it and even my peanut-butter-hating boyfriend enjoyed his slice, as well as the second he had a couple of days later! The peanut butter flavour wasn’t quite strong enough for me to be honest, I feel the cream really overpowered it and I’d like to be able to really get a proper, intense, OMGPEANUTBUTTER hit of PB. I didn’t realise it’d be quite so creamy when I first read the recipe.

I’ve got an idea in my head that seems to be more tart than pie, with layers of pure peanut butter, chocolate ganache and a crunchy pretzel/digestive biscuit base. So I might try that out soon, once we’ve recovered from the calorific bomb that was this dessert. I recommend the recipe though, just be prepared to tweak it to make it fit your pie dish. And add more peanut butter!