Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sloppy Joes (not from a can)

I am not here to knock Manwich in a can. It was that stuff that first turned me on to the greatness that is Sloppy Joes. Sloppy Joes are one of two things from my childhood visits to the neighbors' that I seriously thought (and still think) were (and are) some of the best things ever created to ingest, those being Sloppy Joes and Dr. Pepper. Every time I eat a Manwich or drink a Dr. P I am instantly transported to the neighbors' living room, where I frequently sat on their nice leather couch watching Price is Right. Man, that was the life. (Hi Rebecca!)

But anyway. I wanted to learn how to make Sloppy Joes, and I didn't want to have to go hunt for a can of Manwich at the very rare grocery stores that carry labels around here every time I want them. So I found a few recipes, and streamlined them all. And I finally perfected "my recipe," so I want to share it with you. It includes ingredients I always keep in my pantry, so it's pretty perfect for that cold night that you want something easy to make that will keep you warm. Kind of like tonight actually. Too bad I already had Sloppy Joes three days ago. Sigh.

Un-Canned Sloppy Joes

1-1 and a 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or beef if you can tell the difference)
A little olive oil
1 small diced onion
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 c ketchup
2 c tomato sauce (1 can)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp of dried thyme
A pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder
Salt and black pepper
6 hamburger buns, toasted

You'll want a deep skillet for this, because it will need to hold all of the delicious Sloppy Joe Sauce as well as the turkey. First, brown the turkey in olive oil. You should use a wooden spoon or something hard to break it up as it cooks. Once it is cooked through, and all the liquid is cooked off (if there is still liquid and it's cooked through, you can drain the meat; this step will be necessary if you use beef) add the onions and garlic and cook for a minute or two. Turn heat down to low and add all the rest of ingredients, minus the salt and pepper. Stir everything all together and leave heat on low, so that the liquid comes to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the heat is spread evenly. It should look like this:

Turn your oven to 350, put buns on a cookie sheet, and toast them up (about 5-7 minutes should do the trick). After the 20 minutes of simmering, taste the Sloppy Joes. If the mixture tastes vinegary still, leave to simmer another five minutes. Once the vinegar taste is gone, add salt and pepper to your liking. I usually put a few shakes of pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt to counter the sweetness. Scoop onto buns and serve (don't forget napkins)!

Just as easy as using a can I think. The only trick is making sure the vinegar cooks off, so taste it! It's always a good rule with slow cooking things like this. Oh, and also, don't leave your buns to burn in the oven. Believe me, burnt buns do not work well with Sloppy Joes. I've tried it. Enjoy!

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