February 03, 2021. Dear Daughters- When I was a Young Dad, I had no idea whether either one of you would like to watch football with me, but I was sure hoping at least one of you would. As it turned out, you both have been football fans for most of your lives. From elementary school, when I had to talk to the 4th grade boys so that they would throw to one of you during recess football games, to your last years of high school, when we lived in Canada and our Sunday afternoon ritual during football season was a trip to Boston Pizza to plead and heavily tip the staff to put on the Viking’s game among the row of TVs that may otherwise be dominated by hockey, curling, darts and/or more popular NFL teams.
In spite of your love for football, I know that your meat free diets can make it a challenge to fully enjoy Super Bowl parties, especially with this year’s teams hailing from rather meat forward cities. So, with this in mind, I present you with this sandwich showdown, featuring my meat free takes on Kansas City BBQ and the Tampa Bay Cuban, for your cooking and eating pleasure. Also, for all you skeptical Dads out there who cringe at the idea of a lot of vegetables at your Super Bowl party, just remember Tom Brady is a big fan of plant based plates- his are at least 80% plant based- and he’s won like 6 or 7 Super Bowls!
We’ll get to the Tampa Bay Cuban-elle later in the week, but today we start with a recipe for Kansas City BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns that roasts mushrooms until they become tender, rich and even crispy bits of flavor that deliver satisfaction and savory goodness in every bite. They’re even tastier than most pulled pork sandwiches that I’ve eaten!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
- 2 1/2 pounds mushrooms of your choice- I used 1lb. cremini, 1lb. shiitake and 1/2lb. portabella mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon BBQ Spice Mix, optional: 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (store extra in airtight container)
- 1-2 cups of your favorite BBQ Sauce
- Quick Pickle Strips (recipe follows)
- 2 cups Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw (recipe follows)
- 4 brioche or other nice, even vegan, quality burger type buns
- 2-4 tablespoons cow or plant butter
COOK AND PLAY
Play Folsom Prison Blues. by Johnny Cash, which inspired a Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl song parody last year, but in spite of that would, nevertheless, be a perfect song to play to get into the BBQ mood.
Note. You can make the pickles and slaw (recipes below) while the mushrooms are roasting, but if you can make them that morning or the night before, even better.
- Mushroom Prep. Wipe the mushroom clean with a kitchen towel- if very dirty, rinse off with a bit of water and wipe clean/dry with towel. Thinly slice whole cremini; snap stems off portabellas and thinly slice stems and caps; and snap stems off shiitake, discarding the stems or freezing for broth, thinly slicing the caps.
- Roasted To Perfection. Set up a bottom and middle rack in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the mushrooms out on baking sheets with enough space in between so they roast to perfections and do not steam to mediocrity- I found a 3/4 sheet pan accommodates about 1 1/2 pounds of sliced mushrooms. Drizzle soy sauce and sprinkle BBQ spice, if using, evenly over sliced mushrooms. Roast until most of the water has left the mushrooms and you have roasted mushrooms that are tender, but chewy and even a bit crispy on the edges, about 20-25 minutes. If you haven’t already done so, make the pickles and coleslaw while the mushrooms roast.
- 5-Minute Saucy Roast. Leave oven at 400 degrees, carefully remove mushrooms and toss evenly with 1/4-1/2 cup BBQ Sauce and return mushrooms to oven until they get the sauce gets ooey and gooey, about 5 minutes.
- The Best Buns Are Toasted. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Spread butter over the inside top and bottom of the buns and toast buns, buttered side down, in pan until golden brown.
- Sandwich Construction. Layer 1/3 cup or so of mushrooms, a few pickle strips and 1/3 cup or so of coleslaw in between each bun and serve.
Quick Pickle Strips
- 1 seedless cucumber, ends trimmed and cut into 6’-8” halves
- 1/2 cup cider or other vinegar
- 1/4 cup or so water, to cover cukes with vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2-3 pinches or more red pepper flakes
Use a vegetable peeler to take long and wide strips (keep the peeler parallel to the cucumber as you peel) from the cucumber. Place strips in a shallow dish and cover with vinegar, water, salt and red pepper flakes, massaging and/or stirring every now and again over 10 minutes time or longer, for more tang, if you can. Slices keep in refrigerator for several days, if not longer, but that’s your call.
Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, of course it can be vegan!
- 1/4 cider or other vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Seasoning Mix: 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and (optional) 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 pound thinly sliced green and/or purple cabbage or coleslaw mix
Mix up mayo, vinegar, brown sugar and seasoning in a large bowl. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning, as you wish. Toss cabbage or slaw mix into dressing.
Dad Recipe Swap. If you’re making this for carnivorous friends, I don’t think you’ll want to be getting into slow roasting a pork shoulder at your age and with your lifestyle, but you certainly can swap some pulled chicken in for the mushrooms- season. Take 3-4 chicken thighs or a couple of chicken breasts and season with salt, pepper and BBQ spice, roast on a rack in a baking pan until a 165 internal temperature is reached, shred the chicken up with two forks and toss with BBQ sauce. Honestly though, this recipe tastes so good no one should ever miss the meat.
Can You Even Pull A Mushroom? You can actually pull an oyster mushroom, which weren’t available at my market, but they are highly recommended if you can find them- very tasty and probably offer the most realistic pulled meat effect.
Keyword: sandwich, party food, vegetarian, vegan option
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