Sloppy joes are just about as pedestrian as food comes, but boy, are they good. The sandwiches are filling, comforting, and require no utensils. Can anything else match the saucy tangy-ness of stewed ground meat? Sloppy joes are so satisfying in their simplicity, and also in their versatility! I am making this dish as a feature for some of my TV viewers here in Houston -- I was asked to develop an easy, speedy dinner recipe, and this fits the bill. The added bonus? Sloppy joes can be re-incarnated in any number of ways. So you can cook a big pot one night, make a few adaptations, and it will feel like a whole new meal when it reappears later in the week. I'll post some leftover ideas at the bottom of this entry. This recipe is not fancy, but it is special because it was inspired by my grandmother Vivian's old school version that my mother shared with me. I used her instructions as a guide, but made a few tweaks (such as the addition of beer and green bell pepper), and substituted lean bison "buffalo" meat for ground beef. That was a suggestion from my friend Heather, but you could use whatever kind of ground meat you like (turkey, beef, even lean ground pork or wild game). I like bison meat because cut-for-cut, it's leaner than beef, and it's never raised with growth hormones. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, just go for the original lean ground beef. It's awesome too!
1 tbsp. butter
11/2 lbs. ground bison
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup beer (or substitute water)
2 cups of ketchup
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
2 tbsp. vinegar (any kind)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
additional butter for toasting rolls
Heat butter in dutch oven or large skillet, add meat and cook over medium heat, until meat has just browned. Drain excess fat. Add garlic, onion, and bell pepper, and saute until softened and translucent. Add beer (or water), and allow to stew for a minute or two. Add ketchup, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Butter and toast rolls on a skillet or in the oven. I like to toast the bread dry and then add mayo! Toasting keeps the bread from getting too soggy.
Spoon meat and sauce mixture over the rolls. Top with pickles and/or cheese, if you like! Serve with chips -- my favorite are kettle cooked Zapp's or good old Fritos.
Or, if you are being good...
A couple of leftover suggestions....
*Make sloppy joe nachos: Preheat oven to 350. Spread tortilla chips over foil-lined baking sheet. Spoon re-heated meat mixture onto chips. Cover with shredded cheddar or monterrey cheese. Bake for 10 mins. Remove and top with your garnishes of choice (pico de gallo, black beans, sour cream, jalepenos, etc)
*Sweet jacket potatoes: bake or microwave a sweet potato. Slice lengthwise and add reheated meat mixture, top with cheese (I like cotija or another crumbly white cheese), sliced avocado, and sour cream.