Sunday, December 4, 2011

Soy-rizo - Vegan Chorizo

Have you ever made a dish that you haven't made in ages but you remember as the most amazing food ever, only to find that time has not been kind and that your memories are much rosier than reality?

Not the case here!

This Soyrizo (soy chorizo) was one of my favorites years ago and when I made it again recently I feel in love all over again. Big happy sigh...I love it when that happens!

From The Best 125 Meatless Mexican Dishes, it is simple and almost a pantry dish, as long as you have dried ancho peppers in your pantry. After trying this, you will make it a point to never be without them! Ancho peppers are dried and smoked poblano peppers, dark red with a smoky flavor and just a bit of heat, they are the heart of this dish. You can find them in any latino grocery store or good spice store like Penzey's Spices.

While this version is made with extra-firm tofu, if you want to avoid soy you can also use the seitan-based crumbles that are sold in the frozen section; I have made it with both ingredients. However, if you can eat soy, the tofu does a better job of absorbing all of the delicious flavorful sauce that makes this taste so good.

While I made a simple burrito with this batch, the possibilities are endless - soft and hard tacos, super-size burritos, tamales, empanadas, and tossed in an omelet or scrambled eggs. The main reason I whipped up this batch was a self-imposed challenge to cook vegan. It was a fantastic way to kick off my challenge!

Soyrizo (from The Best 125 Meatless Mexican Dishes)

1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained and wrapped in paper towels to absorb excess moisture
3 large ancho peppers
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 whole cloves
1 1/2 piece of cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon ground)
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut butter (or almond butter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)

Tear the ancho peppers into large pieces and dry roast in a heavy bottom skillet such as cast iron pan for 2 minutes until you begin to smell them. Remove from heat and place in a food processor along with all of the other ingredients except the tofu and stock. Pulse to blend, scraping down the sides, to form a paste. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time and pulse to blend. Mash the tofu using a potato masher to create crumbs. Pour spice mixture into a large frying pan and add tofu. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently until tofu has absorbed sauce and becomes dry and crumbly, 20-30 minutes. Serve as desired.


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