I've worked a number of food service jobs in my time. Unfortunately, none of them were at vegetarian establishments, and all of them took place after I went vegetarian at age 13. My first after school job was pumping out soft serve at the local Dairy Queen. This wasn't too bad. At the time I was totally appreciative of the endless supply of free ice cream, though maybe I didn't appreciate the ten or so pounds I packed on. I had to tolerate serving a few meat based dishes to customers. The one dish I never quite understood was the barbecue sandwich. Customers loved it. I didn't get it. How could you call in barbecue if its cooked on a stovetop. Doesn't barbecue require a grill?
I think this sandwich helped me get a better handle on the grill-less barbecue issue. I have a grill...securely stowed away in my basement. It will probably come out some time this summer, but so far it hasn't happened. Grilling can be a lot of effort when your used to cooking in your conveniently indoor located, air conditioned kitchen.
A sloppy sandwich made of a barbecue sauce base gives you a little taste of summer, without busting out the grill. Maybe. I don't know if that's what my old DQ customers thought, but this sandwich did the trick for me. It also gave me a great excuse to use up another bottle of porter from my six pack that would otherwise sit in the fridge until I passed it off on a beer-drinking house guest. The result was delicious. I'm also always a sucker for meals that just simmer away on the stove top until they're done, allowing me to leisurely write up blog posts on my laptop while dinner practically makes itself.
Barbecue Porter Tempeh Sweet Potato Sandwiches
- 1 cup porter
- 8 oz. can tomato paste
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. sriracha or to taste
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 sweet potato finely diced
- 8 oz. package tempeh crumbled
- ¾ to 1 ½ cups water
- 4 sandwich rolls
Place porter, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, sriracha, onion, garlic and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add sweet potato.
Simmer uncovered over low heat until sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water as needed when the sauce gets too thick.
Add tempeh and cook another 10 minutes.
Divide mixture among sandwich rolls.