Makings of a Man Meal
Credit must be given where it’s due — the Hearty Man Meal originated with my older brother who I must admit, is pretty self-sufficient in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I’m not able to divulge the inspiration and story of creation behind this recipe, because he won’t answer my call right now. (Sorry bro, you just missed your chance at blogger famedom).
Like all great recipes, the Man Meal has evolved over time, lovingly tweaked and revised until it resurfaced as the hearty, manly goodness it is today. Terence started out with peppers, onions, and Jimmy Dean. Hua added eggplant, chicken, and oyster sauce.
Delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare, this fortifying meal was the perfect bachelor-friendly dish to feature in a cooking class (Dude’s Night: Cooking 101) we hosted last weekend.
The guys all agreed, this Man Meal has everything you need — veggies, meats, and an awesome sauce.
Start with your vitamin-rich vegetables.
Carrots and bell peppers for sweetness…
Knife skills: how to not cut your fingers off
Eggplant for a great binding texture…
Respect the vegetable
And of course, onions for that aromatic base.
Now for the meat. I discovered Jimmy Dean for the first time. I think I was always scared of it, and must have bypassed it at the supermarket dozens of times, sitting so unassumingly on the meat shelf. Food snobs don’t turn your nose up. Jimmy Dean is tasty.
As your happy veggies saute away, crumble some JD sausage into a separate pan and let it brown. For an extra protein boost, add some chunks of skinless chicken meat, and let that brown as well.
Get primitive on that bird.
Once the meat is browned, you can add it to the vegetable mixture.
And then it’s sauce time.
BBQ sauce and Oyster sauce
A smoky hickory BBQ sauce and salty Oyster sauce create the base of the Man Meal sauce. A touch of Sriracha adds heat, Worcestershire sauce gives it a little tang, brown sugar brings sweetness, and sesame oil adds a toasty, nutty, dimension to the mix.
Always taste taste taste as you cook
If you taste the sauce at this point, it will be not so good. The bold, salty flavors are aggressive when tasted alone, but once the sauce melds in with the other ingredients, it works.
This dish is great because once you combine everything, you can let it simmer on the stove and just leave it for 30-40 minutes with no fuss — go for a run, pump some iron, whatever. When you return, you’ll have a hearty meal fit for a lumberjack ready to eat.
Man Meal done-zo
Hearty Man Meal
Makes: 5 Man-servings
2 red bell peppers
1 large onion
1 ½ cup peeled baby carrots
1 Jimmy Dean sausage roll
5 skinless chicken thighs
Olive oil (for sauteing)
¼ cup barbecue sauce (Hickory brown sugar flavor)
½ cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Chop all the veggies into similar sized pieces.
2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté onions and peppers until caramelized and softened. Add carrots and eggplant.
3. In a separate pan, brown the sausage by heating a drizzle of oil, and crumbling pieces of the meat into the pan.
4. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the sausage. Cook until the meat is browned and has a nice sear.
5. Mix together all the sauce ingredients and add to the veggie mixture. Add the meat and combine.
6. Let simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.
7. If the sauce needs thickening, add a mixture of 1 teaspoon cornstarch/2 tablespoons cool water into the sauce and let simmer for a few more minutes.
Serve over rice. Eat and Fortify.