Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sloppy Portobello

I wanted a sandwich. A hot sandwich, mindfully considered and able to satisfy my hunger. After all the holiday eatery, the last thing I wanted was another hunk of meat, no matter how tasty. Eating a grilled cheese did not seem particularly mindful on a day where I wanted to watch fats and calories. 

Actually, what I wanted was a Sloppy Jose'. But, that means ground beef. So, I thought about it a bit and decided that it would be most mindful indeed to allow the meaty portobello mushroom to star in the show as it has been understudying the role for some time now.

If you are interested in nutrition facts, you will be very much pleased with how they work out for this dish.

Ingredients with a few substitutions and such but no apologies for rinsing the mushrooms:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1  thinly sliced yellow onion
1 pound Portobello Mushrooms, rinsed (yes, rinsed*), dried, and thin sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. oregano
½ t dry mustard
1 T chili powder
1 T brown sugar
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 tomato, chopped - include all the juices
2 tbsp. tomato paste

A few things to consider using in addition or instead:

powdered garlic instead of fresh chopped, parsley or cilantro, prepared mustard instead of dry, cayenne instead of red pepper flakes, other veggies like zucchini, etc.

How I did it and how you can too:

Because it is a mindful way to cook, I prepped all the veggies and seasonings before beginning the actual cookery and place everything in little bowls all ready to go.

*I do not trust that you and your mushroom brush will remove all potential crud; so rinse them under running cold water, pat dry with paper towels checking all the while for stuck crud, trim the stems a bit because they do tend to get a bit hard where they were broken off from their nice pile of moist soil, and thin slice to your preference of length. I used mini bellas this time because that is what I had and I love them. I cut then in half and then sliced. Next time I may use full grown portobellos and leave them in long strips like I did the onion and sweet red pepper.

Set all the prepared ingredients within their little bowls, sitting sharply at attention, in a precise row in order of use. I like to do that because that way I don't lose track of any one part of the recipe - which I have done a few times only to discover afterward that I had added a great deal of onion powder to a dish that should have had a great deal of garlic powder...or that I left out some key ingredient and ended up with a big ole fail.

Go ahead and put all the seasonings except the fresh garlic in a single little bowl - inhale well, it's the only way to learn to cook with your nose. If you are using dried powdered garlic, that's fine - just measure the equivalent dose and put it in the seasoning bowl with the rest.

That said, you do need to keep the spices and such set out so that when you taste it you can edit the flavors to suit you. I do not add salt very often, only when there is a distinct reason to do so. If you are used to it you may find that this needs salt. I will strenuously object because you are submitting to a food craving supplied by manufacturers of food products that have retrained the world's taste buds to expect salt (and sugar). But as long as I am not the one eating it, I guess it's ok. You may want to cut back a tad on the other seasoning if you *shudders* add salt though. Because I do not salt (maybe I should put that in all caps), I ramp up the other seasonings and in particular, ramp up the heat as that does for me what salt does for you.

Actual cookery instructions now that I am done with all the stuff you have to know about how to do this:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Then add the sweet red pepper and onion strips. Saute stirring only every now and then so the veggies have plenty of opportunity to connect with the pan which results in some lovely brown bits. You don't have to caramelize them now. They will finish caramelizing with the mushrooms. When the onion is quite soft, add the mushrooms and continue as you have begun. 

When the mushrooms are soft and have beautiful brown areas, add the garlic and saute another minute or three. Then dump in the contents of the seasoning bowl and stir for not quite a minute (make sure to take a whiff as the seasonings begin to meld with the veggies - sublime).

Finally, add the brown sugar, tomato bits, and tomato paste** and stir well. Allow to simmer a few minutes while the whole wheat bun is toasting.

**I like to use a tomato paste from Italy that comes in handy dandy little tubes so you can just squish out exactly what you need. It's only made from Roma tomatoes which makes it very mindful.

When the bun is toasty, your Sloppy Portobello is ready to be assembled. Enjoy mindfully and slowly.


  1. Amazing...just taking my first bite now! Thanks for the recipe and the strict instructions! I can see this being a favourite of mine for 2012.

  2. Yea! I am so glad you were careful not to deviate in any way from my clear and concise instructions ...or maybe I should congratulate you on being able to cook in spite of my instructions and not be left a mere puddle of confusion on the kitchen floor. This must be why you are such a great chef! Enjoy your Joe. :D

  3. What is the nutritional breakdown of this recipe?

  4. at the top of the intro, click on the words "nutrition facts" they are a link. :D

  5. What a wonderful recipe! It is definitely a new favorite and one I will make again. Thank you!