sloppy seconds guaranteed

comfort food heaven

I’ve always steered clear of canned meats in the supermarket, SPAM being the most auspicious of them all. Sloppy joes – whatever those cans contained – were a close second, making me wonder how exactly one could voluntarily consume what is inside the metal can. Needless to say, I have never purchased them, nor read the label. They’ve scared me that much.

Home-made sloppy joes, on the other hand, is one of those meals you can make on the spur of the moment, provided, of course, that you have ground meat. Most people keep various condiments in their house, so unless you’re a condiment hater, you will probably have to go out and buy all new ingredients for this. KS, my boyfriend, has a bit more time on his hands nowadays, so he’s been cooking up a storm, treating me to delectable tabbouleh, home-made Italian meatballs (and homemade sauce), and now, these really good sloppy joes. Adam Sandler would be so excited were he to read this.

on a grilled brioche bun

This recipe came from Saveur magazine, a food nerd’s pantheon of beautifully written articles, and seductive photography. I’ve been a subscriber for many years and I have to say, for the small number of pages this magazine packs – it sure delivers a gourmet punch. When it goes on ethnic recipe spreads – it goes all out. Their section on Vladivostok in the most current issue is quite impressive, and the Russian food, is for the most part, dead on.

However, if we really must give the recipe its credit, then the first version of this was published in My Best Meat Recipes (National Live Stock and Meat Board, 1945) under the title “Barbecued Ground Beef”. The Saveur staff, after scanning the ingredients list – recognized the recipe as sloppy joes. And here it is for your viewing and hopefully cooking pleasure. I loved every bite of it and will undoubtedly beg KS to make more. My one piece of advice is this (actually make that two): if you can, get your butcher to grind the meat for you, for obvious reasons being hygiene, quality and freshness. And secondly, if you can get your hands on good buns (hamburger that is) try to do that. Good bread significantly improves the dish, but I’m sure you already knew that! And I guarantee you, you’ll want to go back for those sloppy seconds!

2 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green pepper, cored and chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 small finely chopped yellow onion and 1 small cored, seeded, and finely chopped green bell pepper and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Add 1 lb. ground beef and cook until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add 1 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp. mustard, 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and dark, 25–30 minutes. (Degrease, if desired.) Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve on buttered, toasted hamburger buns. Makes 6 servings.

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