This pulled mushroom sandwich recipe happened, because the flavor and texture of shiitakes is awesome. Plus, I love making homemade barbecue sauces, so why not make a new one? 🙂
Brandy likes to hang out with shiitake mushrooms. They work well together. Fresh ginger seemed like a good choice. And hey, why not add a good amount of hot sauce, and some Medjool dates for natural sweetness? Soy sauce to bring it all together. Caramelized onions, and fresh garlic. Liquid smoke, because what’s BBQ sauce without a bit of smoke?
I decided on a mix of dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms. Mostly due to their different textures and concentration of flavors. Dried shiitakes are chewier and have a deep flavor. Fresh shiitakes come apart easily and are lighter on the flavor. Together, they make the vegan pulled mushroom sandwiches more interesting to eat.
This does take some time to make. Homemade bbq sauce needs time to simmer and come together, but if you are patient, you’ll be rewarded.
Pulled Shiitake Mushrooms with Homemade Brandy BBQ Sauce
Brandy BBQ Sauce:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼-⅓ cup brandy
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
6 ounce can of tomato paste
2 ½ cups water
8 Medjool dates, pits removed
1 ½ Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (OR gluten free tamari)
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 ounce of dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
Burger buns, to serve
1. Place dried sliced shiitake mushrooms in a colander, and rinse off thoroughly in the sink. Remove any sand or dust that may be lurking in the gills. Drain the excess water, and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour boiling hot water over the top of the mushrooms, and allow them to reconstitute (~20 minutes).
2. While the dried mushrooms are hydrating, start working on caramelizing the onions for the barbecue sauce. Add the medium onion, olive oil, and a dash of salt to a large, heavy pot or dutch oven. Turn burner to HIGH. Once the onions start sizzling, turn it down to medium-low heat, and saute for 15-20 minutes, or until the onions turn a deep yellow or light brown.
2. While the onions are caramelizing, start thinly slicing the fresh shiitake mushrooms. I also slice up the stems, because they have a different texture than the cap.
3. When the onions are totally caramelized, add the fresh ginger and sauté for 2 more minutes. Then, add the chili powder, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir around for about 30 seconds. Add the brandy, and allow it to loosen the bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan and also reduce in volume.
4. Add the tomato paste, garlic, water, Medjool dates and soy sauce. Remove from heat and blend until completely smooth. Return the smooth sauce to the pot and stir in liquid smoke and hot sauce. If it gets too thick after blending, add some water to thin it down to your preferred state. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (more dates for sweetness? more soy sauce? more liquid smoke?). Cover with a lid, and simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat. Check it half way in to make sure it isn’t getting too thick, and add water, if needed.
5. In a large skillet over HIGH heat, add red onions and olive oil. Saute for about 3 minutes, and then, add all the shiitakes. Stir around constantly for about 3-5 minutes or until the shiitakes sweat out most of their water and reduce in size.
6. Add the sautéed shiitakes to the barbecue sauce. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Taste, adjust seasonings (more hot sauce? a little soy sauce?), and serve on a bun with some Edamame Kale Slaw with Orange Sesame Dressing on the side.