Did I lose you at vegan jerky? Hold on; let me explain. My friend Pamela Braun, creator of the food blog My Man’s Belly, sent me a review copy of her new book: Jerky Everything. So if you’re concerned about a lack of meat, DO NOT PANIC as the subtitle of the book is: Foolproof and Flavorful Recipes for Beef, Pork, Poultry, Game, Fish, Fruit, and Even Vegetables. I just chose to focus on a couple vegan jerky recipes because its more unexpected and did not involve handling raw meat.
I took the plunge and bought a dehydrator and am really getting into it. It’s soothing fan is the soundtrack to this blog post, working away on some Hayton Farms blueberries from yesterday’s market.
So what did I jerkify? I started with tofu. Yes, T-O to the F-U. Wait, that reads a little aggro. Let’s just stick with lowercase tofu. I do not say FU to tofu. My first foray into Jerky Everything was via a recipe for “Tofu Cheddar Crazy Jerky”. Now if you are wondering how the hell you can have a vegan recipe with the word “cheddar” in it, behold the magic of nutritional yeast. (Or “nooch” as my vegan pals call it.) Nooch has a very parmesan-y, umami (ugh, I said it) type of thing going on. This recipe involves thinly sliced tofu brushed with a mixture of lemon juice, nooch, sea salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then off to dehydrate.
Uh, I loved this vegan jerky. It was great solo and you should try adding it to a salad as well. What did I drink with this tofu jerky? I’m glad you asked.
La Clarine Farm Petit Manseng 2013 ($25)
Tofu, nutritional yeast, and lemon aren’t probably the first thing that comes to mind when discussing jerky. That’s cool, because when it comes to talking about white wine grapes from California, Petit Manseng isn’t probably on the tip of your tongue.
This La Clarine Farm is a really cool wine with good richness and a deeper yellow color with a touch of atmospheric opaqueness. All of this a nice match with the tofu and nooch. Finishes fresh, which compliments the lemon. You could lock me in a room with a block of sliced, jerkified tofu plus this wine and I’d be a happy man. (Especially because this Petit Manseng is sealed with a screwcap. So I don’t need any fancy tools. I’ll knock when I’m ready to come out, OK? Actually could you slide the latest issue of Harper’s under the door? Cheers, thanks.)
(Note: This vintage is sold out but contact the winery and see when more will become available. I’ve liked all the white wines I’ve had from La Clarine Farm and have been squirreling away a couple reds I hope to crack open soon.)
Have you been wondering about the portobello mushroom jerky pictured at the top of this post? I’ll bet. (Thanks to Pamela for the photo.) Good news! Pamela is allowing me to share the recipe. First, my thoughts on the eating of this jerky and wine pairing:
The mushrooms have a very satisfying, meat jerky-esque chew to them. Totally addictive. Now did I drink any wine with this Mellow Mushroom Jerky? Sadly, no. But I brainstormed on what wines would be best with it. There’s a lot of deep, earthy stuff going on here. And powerful flavors! I recommend a Syrah from France’s Northern Rhone. This is the home of the best Syrah in the world. And, unfortunately, with a price to match. If you don’t want to pass out into your jerky from sticker shock, explore the wines of the Crozes-Hermitage area of the Northern Rhone. These bottles provide a great introduction into France’s storied region for Syrah. You can also check out a brawny, Grenache-based wine from the Southern Rhone. Try wines from the Gigondas or Vacqueyras regions. More powerful than your basic Côtes du Rhône yet not as expensive as Châteauneuf du Pape.
Happy dehydrating and jerky making. Remember, you’ve got time to kill during the process so pour yourself some wine.
Mellow Mushroom Jerky
(Recipe courtesy Pamela Braun, from “Jerky Everything” published by The Countryman Press)
- 3T liquid aminos
- 2T pure maple syrup (grade B)
- 2T cider vinegar
- 1t Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4t smoked salt
- A few grinds black pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) package portobello mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- In a 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bag, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients, except the mushrooms, and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms slices to the marinade and mix them around so they get completely coated with the marinade. Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal, and place it in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. During the marinating time, work the slices around so the marinade is fully incorporated into them.
- Remove the strips from the marinade and arrange in a single layer in your choice of dryer. Dry at 145ºF as directed…for 4 to 6 hours. [Note: Pamela has more extensive details in the book about drying as well as using an oven versus electric dehydrator. (That’s why the ellipses are there as the recipe refers you to that section.) My jerky was done in 4 hours but check before then. Based on your skill in slicing thinly, variations in tray placement, mushroom spacing, and air circulation results may vary. All said, it was easy-peasy. Even for this bachelor slob.]