I made sloppy joes for dinner last night. Craig loves sloppy joes, and I happen to be partial to them myself. They’re a relatively easy meal that can be made entirely with things from the pantry and freezer, making keeping stuff on hand for them a no-brainer. That, and the leftovers are at least as good as the main event.
Full disclosure, I was feeling extremely lazy last night, and couldn’t be bothered to track down a memory card for the real camera, so I used my phone camera and, well… you’ll see. Disappointing photos.
I doubled the recipe (we love leftover sloppy joes!) but I’ll give the recipe for just one batch.
1 lb ground meat (we usually use turkey or chicken, but we have all of this cow to go through – and beef turned out to be tastier)
1 medium (or half large) onion
1 chopped semi-spicy pepper (I used a roasted hatch chile. Poblano, anaheim, or even half a bell pepper if you have that lying around would work)
1-3 cloves garlic, minced, grated, pressed, or otherwise tiny
1/4 cup sweet stuff – brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc
Few dashes fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 can tomato sauce
2-4 tablespoons vinegar – apple cider, white, rice, red wine, anything will work
Salt to taste
Something to eat them on – roasted sweet potatoes are incredible, whatever your bun or wrap preference is would work beautifully as well.
In case you haven’t noticed, sloppy joes are not fussy or particular about ingredients. And they are pretty easy to adjust to your preferences. For example, I was experimenting with fish sauce for this batch, got a little too enthusiastic with it, and had to increase the sugar and acid a little to help mellow the funky flavor.
*Chop your onion and get it sauteeing over medium heat. When it begins softening and turning translucent, add pepper and garlic. Stir, and shortly thereafter add your beef. Break up and begin browning the beef.
*Once the beef has browned and all of the liquid has evaporated, add your sugar, fish sauce, tomato sauce, and vinegar.
*Stir thoroughly and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to cook until it becomes less soupy (you know the level of liquid you’re looking for I assume). This can take from 5-20 minutes. As it is cooking, taste and adjust your seasonings. Too sweet? Add vinegar. Too acidic? Add a bit more sugar. Too funky? Give it some time to cook down, and maybe add some more vinegar. Not spicy enough, add some hot sauce or red pepper flakes.