Sloppy Joes – The Best!!

November 22, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

My friend Karen introduced me to the Joy of Cooking recipe for sloppy joes several years ago, and they became an instant staple in our household!  I don’t think I had thought of nor made sloppy joes in decades.  This recipe is adapted, but only slightly.  I usually make it with a combo of white and dark meat ground turkey.  I always substitute Pickapeppa Sauce for Worcestershire – either works, but don’t leave this out!  I think the combo of chili sauce and one of these savory sauces is what makes this recipe stand out.  I like serving sloppy joes with cole slaw, which provides a crunchy contrast to the sweet, spicy and juicy sandwiches.  This is good with a beer, ale or a nice Zin.  Margaux, what sides and drinks do you serve this with?

Margaux says . . .

We first had this while visiting Aunt Suzy…and when she told me we were having sloppy joes for dinner I couldn’t believe it!  But it is fantastic, and it quickly became a staple in our household as well!  I usually use ground beef for it, but have also used ground turkey.  And I serve it with cole slaw as well, and have also served it with homemade home fries.  We always drink beer with it!  One of our favorites this time of year is Goose Island Harvest Ale.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I hadn’t thought to mention it before seeing Margaux’s comments, but I often make sloppy joes for supper when I have family visiting.  It’s not a fancy meal, but one that definitely falls into the comfort food category and is easy to make ahead of time.  Takes the focus off of meal prep and onto enjoying the visitors!  And it’s nice to have on hand for a supper or lunch during holidays. 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, small dice

1 medium red bell pepper, small dice

1 celery stalk, small dice

1 carrot, peeled and small dice

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (optional)

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds ground turkey or beef

3/4 cup chili sauce

1/2-3/4 cup water or dark beer

3 tablespoons Pickapeppa or Worcestershire sauce

Hot sauce to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes enough for about 8-10 sandwiches.

Place a large frying or saute pan over medium heat and coat with vegetable oil.  When hot, add the vegetables (except the garlic) along with the thyme.  Turn the heat up a little and saute until soft and just beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes till fragrant.  Remove all from the pan and wipe with a paper towel.   Put the pan back on a medium high burner, add the meat and brown breaking it up as it cooks.  It’s recommended to cook the meat one pound at a time so that it browns instead of stewing.  Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain of grease and liquid.  Wipe the pan again and put the meat and vegetables back in over medium heat.

Add the chili sauce, the water or beer, the Pickapeppa or Worcestershire and hot sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Turn up heat to bring to a bubble, then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.  This is delicious immediately and especially good after sitting for a day or two!  Place on sandwich buns (toasted or not!) and serve with scallions or grated cheese if you wish.

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Aunt Suzy says

Another great no-cook recipe to beat the heat!  Salon.com has a recipe contest every week called Kitchen Challenge.  Two weeks ago the theme was “your tastiest raw tomato dishes” and this recipe was chosen as the best.  It caught my eye because it used many of my favorite ingredients all put into a sandwich – and it comes with a great story!   This is the second time we’ve made it – and we might make it again this summer as long as the tomatoes are so delicious.   This is one of those recipes that you can add or subtract the ingredients you use to your taste.  For example, we did not use the hard-boiled egg and we added sliced Hungarian peppers to give it a little zing.

I know that many people are growing and buying heirloom varieties (which I love), but I must say a classic red, round homegrown tomato will be the ticket for this recipe.  We served it with both a Spanish Rose wine (last time) and yesterday with a white Cotes du Rhone.

Sliced ripe tomato

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Cooked cannellini beans

Green or black olives (or a combo), sliced in half

Thinly sliced red onion

Fresh mint and basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Crusty sourdough or ciabatta (rolls or loaf)

Slice the bread in half and toast to desired doneness.  Sprinkle each side with a little olive oil.  Put all or some of the ingredients on the bread in any order that you want.  Dig in!!

Here’s a pic of my sandwich using a sourdough roll from Trader Joe’s.

And below is a photo of Randy’s sandwich on ciabatta.  We agreed that we liked the ciabatta better, but both were good.