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Barbecue Sandwiches

For the Ancho Paste:
2 ancho chilies
1/2 cup water

For the Barbecue Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup Ancho Paste
1 tsp. corn oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Barbados molasses
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke

For the Wheat Gluten:
1 cup plus 1/8 cup vital wheat gluten
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. basil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tamari
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke

For the Ancho Paste:
• Place the chilies in a small pot and cover with water.
• Cook over medium-low heat until soft.
• Blend with the water to make this delicious, dark paste. (Note that ancho chilies are often incorrectly labeled as “pasillas” in grocery stores.)

For the Barbecue Sauce:
• Sauté the onion until brown, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
• Deglaze the pan and place all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Stir, then blend with a hand-held blender. (If you don’t have a hand-held blender, combine the ingredients in a regular blender before placing them in the slow cooker.)
• Cook at the medium-heat setting for at least 1 hour. The sauce is best, however, when slow-cooked at the low-heat setting for 8 hours—the longer the shredded gluten cooks with the barbecue sauce, the better. Be careful not to overcook or cook at a too-high temperature setting, because the sugar in the sauce will burn. Occasional stirring helps to prevent this.

For the Wheat Gluten:
• In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and knead until most of the liquid is absorbed. (I like to keep a little extra wheat gluten on the side to absorb any excess liquid.)
• Place in an oiled baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove from the oven and cool.
• Cube, then place in a blender and pulse to shred. (Don’t worry about making this perfect. Just worry about overusing the blender because that will create wheat-gluten mush.)
• Combine with the Barbecue Sauce. Cook in a slow cooker set at medium heat for at least 1 hour.

To Serve:
• Place on your favorite sandwich buns (big, toasted buns with poppy seeds look great), or serve alone.

Makes 4 servings