Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Twist: Unsloppy Joe Bowls

Tuesday's Twist:  A basic recipe with a fun twist.  In other words, just another excuse for me to play around with weird recipes I've been dying to try.

This fun twist makes your traditional sloppy joe twice as nice.

Buns are easily transformed into bread bowls for a mess-free meal.  (Did I mention I like to play with my food?)

You won't miss the mess, or the meat.

Back when I first tried TVP I was just as skeptical as you.  Emma's creative recipes pushed me past raised eyebrows and gently introduced me to this versatile soy product.  I started out a little at a time, still hesitant about the slight soybean flavor.  I stuck with adding it to other dishes as a filler, but hadn't tried it as a main ingredient until now.   Finding myself with a bottle of liquid smoke, I decided I might as well try two new things at once.  TVP provides a texture similar to ground beef while liquid smoke adds meaty flavor.   Mushrooms, onions and green pepper add an extra boost of flavor and texture.  

I was pleasantly surprised at the results and will definitely start using TVP more often.  It makes a much better ground meat substitute than frozen tofu.  It's much easier and less messy to prepare than ground meat.  No browning or draining off fat, just add hot water and stir.  Better yet, it's high in protein, low in fat and super inexpensive.  If your still scrunching up your nose at the idea, try substituting it for part of the ground meat in your favorite chili or sloppy joe recipe.  Or, take life one twist at a time and just try serving your sloppy joes in bread bowls, you don't want to miss those. 

Unsloppy Joe Bowls

4 pretzel buns (or other hard buns)
3/4 cup dry TVP
1 cup water, divided
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped mushroom
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

* Using a serrated knife, slice off the top 1/4-inch of each bun.  Cut out inside of buns, forming a bowl; set aside.
* Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Stir in TVP and let stand 5-10 minutes.
* Meanwhile, in a medium skillet heat oil over medium heat; add onions and cook 2-3 minutes.  Stir in green pepper and mushrooms and cook until onions are transparent and vegetables are soft, 5-7 minutes.
* Reduce heat to low and stir in prepared TVP, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire, brown sugar, liquid smoke and remaining 1/4 cup water.  Cook until heated through.  Spoon mixture into bread bowls.

Food for Thought: "It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death." -Eleanor Roosevelt

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