Last year for my birthday, I had a hot dog party.
It was awesome.
Basically, we grilled up a bunch of Field Roast Frankfurters for me and the other veg*ns, Hebrew Nationals for the omnis, and provided a mountain of buns.
Then all the guests brought a different topping, potluck style. Toppings ranged from fancy-pants mustard to grilled onions to baked macaroni and cheese to guacamole. There were so many delicious toppings that I cut my hot dogs into pieces so I could do different toppings on each bite, and even then still ate way too many hot dogs.
So like I said, a lot of creative toppings, and surprisingly few repeats. But the one thing that showed up over and over was pineapple. People just brought can upon can of the stuff, crushed and tidbits alike. I’m assuming it was to make Hawaiiany hot dogs. But for some reason, none of the cans were actually opened at the party. And they, of course, all got left behind.
I rarely use canned pineapple, so I kind of forgot about it until recently when I was reorganizing the cupboard. My birthday is in April, so uh, they’d been sitting there for a while. Something needed to be done.
I used my favorite tender seitan, Companion Cha’i-Pow-Yu, which you can usually find at Asian markets. It doesn’t look very appetizing right out of the can, but trust me when I say it cooks up nice — just make sure you drain and rinse it. If you can’t get your hands on it, just use your favorite seitan.
Anyway, if you find some cans of mystery pineapple in your cupboard, this is what you’ve gotta do with it. If you don’t have any, this is worth buying some. Trust me.
Serves 3 to 4
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey *
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1 can Companion Cha’i-Pow-Yu (or 10 ounces of your favorite seitan)
1 small green bell pepper, cut into bite size chunks
1 small onion, cut into wedges
heaping 1/2 cup pineapple pieces (canned is fine)
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced into rounds (remove some seeds/ribs as desired to dial down the heat)
1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Mix crushed pineapple, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cloves in a freezer bag or storage container and stir until combined.
Drain and rinse Cha’i-Pow-Yu, then add to marinade and stir to coat. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix seitan and marinade with bell pepper, onion, pineapple, and serrano pepper. Set aside.
Grease a small baking pan with the coconut oil, then pour mixture into it. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and take a small amount of liquid from the pan. Stir it into a small bowl with the cornstarch until there are no lumps. Pour the slurry back into the pan, stir to combine, then bake for an additional 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Let cool for a few minutes.
Serve with rice that has been lightly coated with melted coconut oil.
* Vegan substitution: Use an equal amount of agave nectar for a vegan dish.