Food Network Friday – BBQ duck and mushrooms with pancakes

This week’s Food Network Friday was a really fun one chosen by Kim a.k.a Veg-in-Training. Kim is one of my fellow recipe testers and picked a really adaptable recipe this time – BBQ duck and sauteed shiitake mushroom filled blue corn pancakes with habanero sauce! Wow. I didn’t even know where to start. The dish has 5 elements; corn pancakes, Mesa BBQ sauce, Sauteed shiitake mushrooms, habanero sauce and BBQ duck – so there was lots to play around with. This is definitely a very loose translation!

I picked tofu to stand in for the duck. I remember making some baked tofu from Artful Vegan that had a really good taste and texture. It was baked in soy sauce, maple syrup and a touch of sesame oil. Unfortunately I was multitasking and over baked it so I was in a bit of dilemma. I didn’t know how it would work and thought it might be too crisp, so I quickly took a seitan steak out of the freezer and decided to cook both and see how they came out.

I still had some Mesa BBQ sauce in the freezer leftover from this dish so that was nice and easy and took care of itself.

The sauce was another interesting one. I was only cooking for 2 so here’s what I did:

2.5 cups better than chicken broth
2 tbsps white wine
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 a star anise
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
1/2 dried habanero
1/2 tsp toasted fennel seeds

I mixed it all up and and cooked for about an hour until it reduced down, then I strained it.

I brushed the pieces of tofu and seitan with the BBQ sauce then braised it in the oven in some of the habanero sauce and extra broth. I just put it in a covered pan and left it in a hot oven for an hour.

I laughed at the idea of using just 3 mushrooms for 8 servings and I can’t get shiitake mushrooms anyway, so I used about a cup of baby portabellos. I added the strained cooked tofu and seitan to the sauteed mushrooms and shallots, then finally I added some arrowroot to the rest of the habanero sauce and added it in and cooked it all for a bit until I got a nice thick glossy sauce. I added loads of fresh coriander in too.

Next, the blue corn pancakes. The more eagle eyed of you will have noticed that there aren’t pancakes in my picture, but waffles instead. I can’t get blue corn and I looked through my cookbooks and had a browse of the internet but I couldn’t find a vegan corn pancake that looked like what I wanted. I was thinking about either homemade crepes, or corn tortillas. But then inspiration hit, and I remembered the savoury corn waffles from Vegan Brunch. I did spend a bit of time wondering if this wasn’t just a stretch too far, but then I remembered how much I love waffles and that I don’t use my waffle maker enough, so I decided I’d go for it and be damned!

Well, this was an amazingly tasty, if fairly loose adaptation of the original. The baked tofu really plumped up in the braising liquid and gave it an excellent texture. I preferred the tofu and Matthew preferred the seitan but there wasn’t much in it. The sauce was really good – spicy yet sweet with a lovely hint of 5 spice and cinammon. The corn waffles are great and I thought they did well to replicate the earthy taste of the pancakes but were nice and light. This was a great choice from Kim; lots of elements to play around with and different flavours to try. Thanks Kim and Tami, yet again a great meal which I’d never have thought of otherwise!

Don’t forget you’ve got another week to enter my competition too!

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