Awesome Sloppy Joes
When I was in college studying accounting a lifetime ago, I ate sloppy joes in the cafeteria whenever I could afford them. They were SO good. I asked for the recipe, but they said I’d have to take culinary classes to get it. As much as I wanted to take culinary classes, I was in school for accounting because my doctor ordered me to give up my job as the head cook at a restaurant. I was born with a heart condition and it went from a weakness in the wall of the heart to a tear. Being on my feet in a hot kitchen was no good for my heart. So, I had to change careers and I chose accounting. I had been keeping a 2-column ledger of my allowance since I was about 12 years old. No one taught it to me, it just made sense to me to do it that way. So accounting it was.
In all the years since I’ve never found a Sloppy Joes recipe that came close…until today. I have been so hungry for Sloppy Joes. I had two pounds of Organic grass-fed beef in the fridge that had a use or freeze by date, dated tomorrow. So I looked up a recipe and tried it. Yeah, I modified it right away, but without the base from The Pioneer Woman’s site, I would have never had such a delicious dinner.
This recipe had a number of ingredients, but most are staples. Nothing was hard. I have hand issues and still got the dicing and mincing done in 5-10 minutes, including washing the green pepper. I was out of ground mustard powder but had mustard seed. I ground it with a mortar and pestle. It was very quick. Not everyone has Worcestershire sauce in the house. Don’t skip it. This recipe tasted flat until I added it.
I recommend carefully reading through a recipe before starting. If I re-write a recipe I always break the ingredients in sections, based on when they are added. In some recipes adding something at the wrong time could be disastrous. I once added 3/4 cup of oil to a batter because it was listed with the batter ingredients and never really said in the recipe that the oil was for frying the product. It said to mix the liquid ingredients into the dry, which I did.
Prep your vegetables first. Even though you’d probably have enough time while the meat browns, onions and garlic should rest 5-10 minutes after cutting to promote their healthy properties. Then while the meat browns you will have plenty of time to measure out the next set of ingredients.
This is How I made it
I prepped the vegetable and set them aside.
Now start to brown your meat. I used Organic grass-fed ground beef from Aldi’s. Organic, 100% grass-fed beef is high in Omega 3’s, unlike grain-fed beef.
I browned the beef in a little butter. The butter adds flavor. We’ll be removing most the fat, so go ahead and add it now for the flavor.
While that is browning, we have enough time to measure the other ingredients. I notice that I don’t have any ground mustard powder, so I quickly grind some with a mortar and pestle. You could also use a coffee grinder that you have set aside for grinding dried herbs and spices.
I measured the rest of the ingredients. Since I used one of those dial-to-measure cups, I just dialed it down and put the rest of the ingredients on top, like this:
Now the meat is nearly done and I can remove most the fat. Leave about 2 tablespoons to saute the vegetables. Although you can use a spoon, I find that a turkey baster is faster and easier. By the time I finish taking out the fat, all the meat will be just browned.
Now add the vegetables that you chopped earlier.
Continue to sauté the vegetables until the onions are translucent, but not browned. About 5 minutes. They will look like this when done:
Notice that the green peppers are still green, but have lost their brightness. Most the onions have turned translucent. Now add the ketchup and spice mixture. Measure one cup water to rinse your measuring cup and add to the pan.
Bring to a boil, then turn your burner to simmer. Stir occasionally.
Simmer about 15 – 20 minutes, until the water has all evaporated. Don’t rush it by leaving the burner on high. Not only will the sugar burn, but you are infusing the flavor into the beef. It will look like this:
I decided to make this a fair test of how it measured to the Sloppy Joes I ate in college 40 years ago that I needed to buy regular hamburger buns from the grocery store. They are moister and much sweeter than a Kaiser roll. It changes the taste completely. To compensate, I filled the rest of the plate with broccoli. Not my normal broccoli. I usually reserve the stems and bits for smoothies and cream of broccoli soup, but, oops, I grabbed the wrong bag. Oh well, I got my veggies anyway.
The verdict: This tastes as good – or better – than the sloppy joes I had in college. And now you can make them, too. They are easy, you control the ingredients and they are DELICIOUS.
- 2 pounds Ground beef, Organic, 100% grass-fed preferred
- 2 TB Butter
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced, ORganic preferred due to pesicides
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/4 cups ketchup Organic, preferred
- 2 TB brown sugar
- 2 tsp Chili powder blend
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 or 2 TB tomato paste (freeze remainder in 1 TB dollops
- 1-1/2 tsp salt, sea salt preferred
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- add'l salt and black pepper, to taste
Dice the onion, about 1/4 inch dice.
Dice the bell pepper, about 1/4 inch dice.
Mince the garlic, add to the diced onion and bell pepper.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and add the ground beef. Saute just until cooked through.
Remove all but 2 TB of the fat. You will need some of the fat to saute the vegetables.
Add the onion mixture. Stir and saute until the onions are translucent and the green peppers are softened. They will just be losing their bright green color, about 5 minutes.
Measure the next 7 ingredients. Set aside.
Add the ketchup, spices and 1 cup water. I measured the water in the same measuring cup to rinse out the excess ketchup. Stir well.
Bring to a boil, then turn the burner down to just above a simmer.
Simmer about 15 minutes, stirring regularly until most the liquid has evaporated. Watch that the sugar in the sauce does not burn.
Taste. Adjust flavors - add any salt and pepper needed.
When all the liquid has evaporated, it is ready.
Serve on the buns or rolls of your choice.
Garnish with cheese or avocado, if desired.
The health benefits of garlic and onion source: George Mateljan, www.whfoods.org
Original Recipe: The Pioneer Woman