Monday, July 3, 2023

Sloppy Joe’s and Fun Things To Go On Top Plus No More Hacking (not the computer kind)

You might need an indoor recipe to go along with your July 4th barbecue. Maybe your grill will be full of other things or there’s a toxic haze over your backyard…whatever it is, this is a great addition to any barbecue or really any summer dinner. This is a recipe I first came across EONS AGO in the cookbook that came with my very first microwave. (I think from the 1980’s.😱)

Jump to Sloppy Joe's 

You can play with the recipe. Add additional spices or some sriracha. Use ground turkey or even smashed black beans (2 cups) for a meat-free option.

And there’s no limit to the toppings you can add:

Barbecue Sauce
One of my favs - Sautéed Peppers And Onions
Baked Beans
Sautéed Mushrooms
Even Potato Chips (on top) - although that’s a bridge too far for me… 


Note: Weird thing I do with my ground beef. I happened to be using quite thin bought burgers (uncooked of course), so I browned them just a little to get them firmed up. And here's the weird thing - I took them out and put them on a cutting board and chopped them into a really attractive dice. 

There are few kitchen tasks I hate more than hacking at a hunk of ground beef in a nonstick pan with a metal spoon to get it all nice and even. This gives you perfect bits of ground meat that look better and go on a bun easier. If you have a pound of unformed ground beef, just press it into the sauté pan to flatten it out and remove it a quarter at a time to chop it up.   

Sloppy Joe’s (serves 4)

1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
big pinch of Kosher salt
1 tbl. olive oil
½ red pepper, diced
1 tbl. chili powder
¼ tsp. (or less) cayenne pepper
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup ketchup
1 tbl. Dijon mustard
2 tsps. brown sugar
1 tbl. water
 A little butter (see note)
4 hamburger buns

Stir onion, celery and salt in olive oil over medium high heat in sauté pan. When you hear a sizzle, cover and turn down heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally until completely soft, at least 10 minutes. Add red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cayenne and black pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, on low heat.

Remove vegetables to medium bowl. Raise heat to medium. Add ground beef and cook until browned. (See note above recipe if you want a more complicated, but better way to deal with the ground beef.) Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and water. Simmer gently, covered, on medium low heat for 20 minutes.

Spread butter on inside of hamburger buns. Toast in toaster oven or oven. Spoon Sloppy Joe’s over each bun. Serve with pickles, tomatoes or anything else you like.

In the unlikely event you have some left over, add a tablespoon of water or stock to bring the sauciness back to life. 

Note: Instead of butter, you can top the hamburger buns with lots of fun stuff before you toast them – mayonnaise, Russian dressing, garlic butter, flavored olive oil. And here is the one time (in addition to toast) where salted butter is better. But never for baking…

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