Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chicken or Tempeh?

Recently I have found myself venturing out and expanding my palate through some vegetarian or vegan options.  Although I don't think I'll ever completely be vegetarian or vegan, I have really enjoyed being creative with my meals using alternatives to meat.  Thanks to my lovely friend Sommer, I have been using tempeh on a more regular basis.  Sommer is a vegan and although I am yet to experience her incredible cooking it always looks and sounds delicious.  She is so creative with her ingredients and has inspired me to look at my food and cooking differently.  Please check out Sommer's website to read more about her.

So, tempeh or chicken?  Well, as I was creating this recipe I wanted to give everyone some more options and expand some palates.  For those of you who have not discovered tempeh yet, this recipe will make you a fan.  I'm sure of it.  Tempeh originated in Indonesia and is made from slightly fermented soybeans.  The soybeans are formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger and has a earthy flavor.  In some Asian cultures tempeh is a staple protein.  I have used tempeh as a substitute for meat, fish and recently eggs. It is extremely inexpensive and you can find it at your local grocery store either in a health food aisle or near the tofu.  Now, I know the star of this recipe may be the bourbon barbecue sauce but I hope those of you who are wanting to try something different give tempeh a shot.

Bourbon Barbecue Kale Wraps

There are so many different detoxifying foods in this wrap.  Starting with the kale, which I previously wrote about, to red cabbage, black beans and broccoli sprouts.  Black beans are high in fiber aiding the digestion process while cabbage is known for it's powerful cleansing properties. With it's cancer protective compounds containing high levels of sulfurophane, broccoli sprouts are a perfect topping to this delicious wrap.  Combine all of these ingredients with bourbon barbecue sauce you'll forget how good for you this wrap really is.

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup bourbon (Maker's Mark)

On low heat in a medium sauce pan, combine the ketchup and brown sugar.  Stir continuously until the sugar has melted.  Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and combine.  Pour in the bourbon and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.

Kale Wraps

4-6 large Dino Kale leaves
1 chicken breast or 8 ounces of tempeh, prepared (see tempeh preparation below)
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans, cooked and warmed
1/4 cup red cabbage, chopped
1/3 cup broccoli sprouts
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Bourbon barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Heat a small amount of olive oil on medium-high heat in an oven safe pan.  Place the chicken in the pan and sear both sides for 3-5 minutes.  Generously coat the chicken with the bourbon barbecue sauce.  Next, place oven safe pan in the oven and bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.  Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cutting board.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing to keep the moisture in the chicken. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces.

First prep the tempeh by poaching it or steaming it in vegetable broth for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the broth.  Heat a small pan with about 1 teaspoon of oil on medium-high heat.  Place the tempeh in the pan and sear both sides for about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Generously coat the tempeh with the bourbon barbecue sauce.   Place it on a foil lined baking sheet and bake  for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip tempeh.  Bake for another 10 minutes.

Building the Wraps
While the chicken or tempeh  is baking lightly drizzle the kale with olive oil and massage gently.  This will make the kale more malleable and easier to roll.

Place 2 pieces of chicken or tempeh on each kale leaf.  Distributing evenly, top the chicken or tempeh with the red onion, black beans, corn, red cabbage, and broccoli sprouts.  Finally drizzle a bit more bourbon barbecue sauce on top.  Roll the kale to form a wrap.  You may want to serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping.  The sauce really is just that good!!

Note:  You could also enjoy this open faced or as a salad.