My entry for the PPK “Chopped Vegan!” contest
Isa Moskowitz is one of my favorite cookbook authors. I have two of her cookbooks, Vegan with a Vengeance, and Appetite for Reduction. Moskowitz also writes the vegan cooking blog Post Punk Kitchen. Last Thursday, on the Post Punk Kitchen Facebook page, Moskowitz announced a vegan version of Chopped, a popular TV show on Food Network.
Tom and I love Chopped. We no longer have cable TV, but when we did, we watched this show a lot. On Chopped, accomplished chefs are each given a basket of mystery ingredients, revealed just seconds before the clock starts ticking. They must use all of the ingredients in the basket, and have just 30 minutes to complete their dish. There are three rounds: Appetizer, entree, and dessert (with a new mystery basket for each round). One chef is “chopped” from the competition after each round.
We used to try to guess the mystery ingredients before they were revealed. If either of us guessed correctly, the other person had to fork over $1. Neither of us ever guessed correctly, although Tom came close once. He guessed venison and the real mystery ingredient was elk tenderloin.
While fun to watch, Chopped is not a vegan-friendly competition. In fact, the show is kind of famous for, as Moskowitz puts it, “gross meats.” On one memorable episode, the chefs were tasked with using geoduck (“gooey duck”), a huge, disgusting-looking clam.
For Chopped Vegan!, Moskowitz revealed the mystery ingredients on Thursday, and asked all entries to be submitted by noon PST on Monday, June 25. Since I love vegan cooking and the show Chopped, I decided to go ahead and submit an entry.
The mystery ingredients were:
- Canned black-eyed peas
- Fresh mint
- Bittersweet chocolate
Quite a challenge, right? You can read the compete rules here, but basically contestants had to create an entree using all four ingredients that takes 40 minutes or less to prepare. Here is what I came up with:
Black-eyed-pea patties with blackberry-chocolate-chipotle sauce
For the sauce:
1/2 cup blackberry juice
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1-2 Tbsp. adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
1 Tbsp. triple sec (optional)
For the patties:
2 cans black eyed peas
1/2 small zucchini, grated
4 oz. crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
6 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
For garnish (optional):
To make the sauce, I pureed a pint of blackberries in the food processor and then pressed the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds. I was left with about 1/2 cup of juice.
I transferred the blackberry juice to a small saucepan (set over a larger saucepan of water to prevent burning). Next, I added 1 oz. of bittersweet chocolate to the blackberry juice and heated the mixture over low heat until the chocolate was melted and smooth. Then, I stirred in the adobo sauce and triple sec. I heated for a few minutes more to cook off some of the alcohol. I set the sauce aside while I made the patties.
To make the patties, I sauteed the onions, mushrooms, and zucchini in a little oil until the veggies were soft and set the mixture aside to cool. Here’s what it looked like:
Meanwhile, I mashed the black-eyed-peas with a potato masher until about 3/4 of the beans were mashed.
I formed the bean mixture into patties, and fried them in a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil, about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
To serve, I placed a patty on a bed of arugula, topped it with a little diced mango and red onion, and drizzled everything with the blackberry-chocolate-chipotle sauce.
I don’t normally use fruit or chocolate with savory dishes, so this combination of ingredients was definitely challenging. I am happy with the result, and will probably keep playing with this recipe.
Here’s another view of the finished plate: