This is the first step of hopefully many that Comic Booked is taking into the realm of the culinary, marrying together in a strange matrimony the love of comics and delicious food in an installment dubbed COMIC COOKED. For the first Comic Cooked, I am taking inspiration from a certain movie coming out this week (or already released depending on what country you reside in) that some of you may have heard of.
That’s right, The Avengers, already a record breaker and smash hit in spite of not being in theaters in the U.S. yet.
For this installment, we’re going to focus on one of the heroes in particular- Iron Man. The Iron Man armor and the man inside it, Tony Stark, are both icons of Marvel and compelling to the imagination. Armor that allows a man to take out the most powerful opponents and go toe to toe with supervillains and superheroes, and within it, a complex man who is not only incredibly gifted in intellect and wealth but also very much a human with his weaknesses and flaws.
So it is to Iron Man that we dedicate the first Comic Cooked, with not one, but two recipes for Iron Manwiches!
The first Iron Manwich is the Iron Man Faceplate Bagel, a simple to put together snack made with only four ingredients which is inspired by the distinctive Iron Man helmet, in one of its more recognized red and gold palettes.
To assemble this helmet you won’t need any special alloys or amazing technology, but you will need some mini bagels, a tomato, sliced cheese, and if you feel like being authentic, liverwurst. Why liverwurst? Have you looked at the nutritional content label? There’s a ton of iron in it! Alternatively, you could use mayonnaise to compliment the tomato, or go with a more traditional bagel spread like cream cheese.
First split the bagels, and optionally toast them if you prefer your breads toasted like me.
Then, apply a layer of whatever spread you are using, then top with a slice of tomato.
Now for the golden faceplate. Any sliced cheese will probably do, but American cheese is the right color and easy to work with. And the last I checked, Iron Man was an American. So don’t be ashamed of your processed cheese food slices and unwrap that plastic!
Create the mask with careful knife work. Basic directions. Cut two eyeholes just off center, a trapezoid out of the forehead, and a crooked line for the mouth.
But really, as long as you have eyes and a mouth, and cut some sort of shape for the top, you will probably be somewhat close to at least one Iron Man helmet, since Stark made so many damn suits of powered armor.
Carefully pull the cheese off of the plastic and flip or place onto the tomato. Then with a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim off the edges.
Repeat as necessary as you like.
And soon you too will have the beginnings to a set of armor that has an unfortunate weakness to anyone with a serious case of the munchies.
Now that we’ve paid tribute to the armor, it is time for a recipe that pays homage to the man. A man who is a hero, albeit a flawed one, but it is these flaws that make a hero compelling is it not? Of the trials and tribulations that have tested Tony, one of the more poignant examples is his battle with alcoholism. So it is with affection and more than a little tongue in cheek that in homage to the man, Tony Stark, that the second recipe is dubbed “The Tony Stark Boozewich,” a truly alcohol infused concoction that will take out any supervillain sized appetite with a one two punch.
An open faced sandwich with its secrets laid bare for all to see, two slices of bread covered with slices of beer braised pork, and smothered with a bourbon whiskey barbecue sauce.
And remember kids, alcohol is serious stuff, so don’t drink it until you are of legal age in your country of residence, and when you do, drink responsibly.
For the pork, you will need some about four pounds of country style pork ribs, oregano, chili powder, salt, freshly cracked pepper, at least six cloves of garlic and a bottle or can of beer. Just ignore the bourbon whiskey for now, we’ll get to that later.
Combine one tablespoon of chili powder, one tablespoon of dried oregano, and a tablespoon of salt, along with several grinds of pepper, ten will do.
To that spice mixture, mince and add four garlic cloves.
Then rub it all over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at the very least an hour or if you have time, overnight.
About 3 hours before you want to eat, it is time to get down to business. First preheat your oven to 500 degrees F, and if you happen to have a cast iron skillet, put that bad boy in. I find cast iron to be appropriately thematic. A word of caution, not only will you need pot holders, I recommend double layering, this stuff is hot. If you don’t have a large cast iron skillet, a pyrex baking dish will work well, as would a roasting pan, but do not preheat them.
Once the oven is preheated, if you’re still with me on the cast iron, pull it out of the oven with great care and grease it lightly if your ribs are lean, and if they’re nice and fatty just slap them right on and listen to the satisfying sizzle of fat on scorching hot metal. If using an alternate vessel, just place the pork into them and continue as directed.
Roast the meat at 500 degrees F for 45 minutes.
When the 45 minutes have elapsed, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Remove the pork and its cooking container from the oven and douse it with a can or bottle of your brew, mince the rest of your garlic and toss into the liquid.
Carefully cover your cooking vessel tightly with heavy duty foil. Or double cover with regular foil. Put back in the oven for an hour if you like your pork sliceable, or two and a half hours if you enjoy it falling apart, pulled pork style.
While that’s going, it is time to Avengers assemble the barbecue sauce ingredients. Good mustard, hot sauce, brown sugar which may or may not be inexplicably in an antacid container, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.
And well, I think this needs no explanation. Hopefully Stark would approve in his less pickier moods.
In a large bowl, combine the one cup of ketchup, two tablespoons of mustard, a half cup of brown sugar, several shakes of hot sauce and three tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Then clean out whatever cup you used to measure the ketchup in with three quarters of a cup of bourbon whiskey and pour it in. Mix it all together.
When you’ve cooked your pork to desired done-ness, remove from oven, then set the pork aside, wrapping it with the foil used to cover your container.
If using a skillet, just pour your ketchup mixture directly in and place on the stovetop over high heat. If not, transfer the braising liquid to a saucepan and add the ketchup mixture. Simmer until good and thick, about twenty minutes, lowering heat gradually if the bubbling ever seems out of control.
There it is, almost two cups of delicious bad temper in sauce form.
Slice up or pull apart your pork.
If you’re feeling like really going all out on the booze them, use a recipe of beer bread. But any sturdy bread will work for this next step.
Slather your slices with your favorite condiments, or even just some of the barbecue sauce.
Layer on the pork.
And cover with a healthy dose of sauce.
And there you have it, the Tony Stark Boozewich, a truly sumptuous tribute to the man behind the armor.
So if you have a hankering for thematic food for your Avengers pre party, please consider these Iron Manwiches, brought to you by Comic Cooked!
Brian Vo is a geek, food enthusiast, and blogger with a passion for all things nerdy and culinary. For more of his cooking projects, check out his blog, Cast Iron Therapy.