This recipe is in partnership with Del Monte and is the vegan counterpart to the Upside Down Pineapple Chicken featured in the May issue of Delicious Magazine (which is available from supermarkets, convenience stores and newsagents from the end of April).
Serves 4 from 74p each. All prices calculated at Asda and correct at time of publication.
1 medium onion, 10p (70p/1kg, Growers Selection)
2 cloves of garlic, 4p (69p/3 bulbs, Growers Selection)
10g of fresh ginger, 4p (37p/100g, loose)
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs, 3p (59p/12g)
1 tbsp light coloured vinegar, <1p (29p/568ml, distilled malt vinegar)
a pinch of hot chilli powder, <1p (84p/44g)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 5p (54p/150ml)
1 tbsp light cooking oil, 2p (£1.09/1litre)
2 tbsp (28g) tomato puree, 5p (35p/200g)
a good grind or pinch of black pepper, <1p (£1.10/100g, TRS)
2 tsp sugar, <1p (65p/1kg)
1 small can of pineapple slices in juice, 80p (80p/220g, Del Monte)
1 can of jackfruit, £1.44 (£1.44/400g, Summer Pride)
150g mushrooms, 32p (54p/250g, Farm Stores)
2 tbsp cooking oil, 3p (£1.09/1litre)
First make your marinade and sauce. Peel and dice your onion, and peel and roughly chop your garlic, and slice your ginger. Pop it all into the small cup of a bullet blender or food processor, and add the herbs, vinegar, chilli, soy sauce, pepper, cooking oil, tomato puree, and sugar or other sweetener to taste. Blitz with the pineapple juice from the can to a smooth liquid – you may need to add a splash of water, depending on how large your onion is. Give it a stir to check for lumps, and when satisfied that it is completely smooth, set it to one side for a moment.
Now drain your jackfruit very well, by tipping it into a large sieve or very fine-holed colander over the sink. With very clean hands, pick it up and squeeze it firmly between your palms to really extract all of the extraneous brine, then drop it back into the sieve and separate it with your fingers. Repeat this stage a few times until the jackfruit is fairly dry and separates easily between your fingers. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl, and set to one side.
Grate your mushrooms using the large holes on a box grater, or pulse them briefly in a bullet blender. Or if you’d rather, you can slice them finely with a large, heavy, sharp knife, then mince to smithereens. However you achieve the end result of teeny tiny bits of mushroom, add it to the jackfruit, and mix well to combine.
Add 4-6 tbsp of the marinade to the jackfruit and mushroom mixture, and stir well. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or two to let the jackfruit absorb it – this is why we drain all the brine out of it, so that it’s thirsty for all these delicious flavours!
Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade into a saucepan and pop it on a medium heat to reduce and thicken – this should take around 20 minutes, but it depends on so many variables, like the power of your hob, the type and size of saucepan you have, how large your onion was – so just keep an eye on it, and it’ll be ready when it’s the thickness of really posh ketchup. Or if you scoop up a spoonful of it and turn it upside down, it should pause for a moment before dropping off. Think of that moment (I may be giving my age away here) where Wile E Coyote hurtles off a cliff edge after Road Runner, and there’s that comedic beat before he glances down, panics, and plummets to whatever misery awaits him below, and that’s sort of what you’re after. Then remove it from the heat and let it cool while your jackfruit and mushrooms luxuriate in their flavour bath.
When the jackfruit and mushrooms have absorbed most of the marinade and plumped back up again, return it to the sieve and gently press out any excess liquid. Form the mixture into four evenly sized balls, and set to one side.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large nonstick frying pan, and add the patties, spaced well apart. Flatten them gently with a spatula or very gently with a masher, pushing them back together if the edges crack a little. Add four pineapple rings to the pan. Fry everything on a medium heat for a few minutes on each side, until browned. Warm the sauce through, and serve each patty with a generous ladle of sauce, and a pineapple ring on top. Finish with plenty of black pepper, and serve.
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