Now, having done my high-schooling, and college years, in the '90's, I wouldn't feel right not mentioning this: Do you happen to recall Adam Sandler's Lunch Lady Land song, back from his turn on SNL? And the ever-so-catchy line from the chorus: "Sloppy Joe, Slop-Sloppy Joe, yeah...?" Yeah? Me too. In fact, that's what we sing around here, when Sloppy Joes come on the scene. Good times always being had around the King household, I tell you.
Sloppy Joes were a serious treat in childhood, do you remember? The red stained faces and fingers (and often shirtfronts)...going back for seconds (or thirds) when you were almost, but not quite, full enough to burst...Oh, yes. And the seasoning packet. Oh, no. This is a from-scratch take on my childhood, and now my Kiddos' childhood, favorite. And it is dang tasty. A little bit sweet, a background hint of smokiness from the cumin, a bit of heat for those that like it. And it's messy, just like old times.
I think ground beef is best for this, but you can use ground turkey or chicken, if you're so inclined. Beef tends not to dry out quite as much, though. If you really want to posh-up your Joes, you could use ground sirloin, I suppose. But it's not necessary. This is anything but fancy food.
I hope it makes you sing too.
Sloppy Joes - feeds 4 to 6
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1/2 large onion (or 1 medium), chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 Tbs sweet chili sauce
pinch cayenne &/or dried chili flakes (or more if you like some spice in your Joes)
In a deep cast iron pan, or dutch oven, (or whatever you've got going on in your kitchen), heat the olive oil over medium high heat, and brown the beef, breaking it up as it browns. When it's nearly all browned, but there are still a few pink bits, add in the chopped onion and green pepper, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add in all the spices, and stir for 1 minute, to bring out their flavors.
Now add in all the ingredients from the second list, starting with your chopped tomatoes, so the spices don't burn. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium low, and cook until the sauce thickens, about 12 to 15 minutes. Check for seasoning, and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Looks pretty sloppy, right? Perfect.
I like to serve up our Sloppy Joes on a nice, crusty roll, but you can go with the classic hamburger bun, if you prefer. We like to go all out and throw some grated sharp cheddar in there too, but you can skip it, if it feels too gluttonous. Or go for it, and have a walk after dinner. It's kind of worth the extra calories.
This goes splendidly with my coleslaw recipe...just so you know.
Enjoy your sloppy dinner!