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An Everyday, Ordinary Dish – Reinvented


Real Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Ever since I got my new Williams-Sonoma cookbook, “Comfort Food”
for Christmas, I decided that Winter is a perfect time for staying in and
cooking and pursuing some comfort amidst the freezing and dismal
weather outside. So I’ve decided to cook my way through the book over
the next few months, and found a recipe for Sloppy Joes – a dish I haven’t
had in a looongg time. In fact, I think I’ve only tried them a handful of times
– growing up when my Mom wanted to make a quick dinner but something
tasty and savory.

Cookbook Recipe

Sloppy Joes have definitely gotten a bad rap, but this version ups the ante and
puts them back on the map for a delicious quick dish you can make on a weeknight
that’s hearty and spicy and filling. The ingredients are simple and basic: ground
beef, onions, peppers, celery and the sauce is a spicy-sweet tomato sauce that is
tangy and savory and just too good!

ingredients

Since I wasn’t able to find bottled chili sauce, I made my own by using 3 parts ketchup
to 1 part Chili-Garlic sauce and a small amount of Sriracha sauce (you can find both of
these in an Asian supermarket). I also added a dash of onion salt and a dash of Paula
Deen’s House seasoning
and a dash of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to add a little
extra spice and layer of flavors. If you want to make them a bit spicier, throw in a small
amount of chopped green chiles. Also, if you’re using frozen meat and defrosting it, make
sure it’s completely defrosted before cooking, or you’ll need to omit the ¼ c. of water that
the recipe calls for, otherwise the mixture will become too watery.

The key to making a delicious Sloppy Joe is to have a perfect balance between tangy, spicy
and sweet – not too tomatoey and not too sweet like a BBQ sauce. Also, the flavors meld
together as time goes on, so they actually taste better the next day! They are easy to make
and you’ll have leftovers for a few days if you’re eating for one or two. Serve these guys on
toasted buns with some melted cheese and a side of chips or fries. Mmmm-good!

Ingredients

Canola Oil, 1 tbsp
Yellow Onions, 1, diced
Celery, 1 stalk, diced
Green bell pepper, 1, finely diced
Ground Beef, 1.5 lbs
Tomato Sauce, 1 c
Ketchup-style chili sauce, ½ c.
Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tbsp
Dijon Mustard, 1 tbsp
Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp
Light Brown Sugar, 1 tbsp firmly packed
Kosher Salt, 1 tsp
Fresh ground pepper, ¼ tsp
Sesame-seed or Whole Wheat Sandwich buns, 6 split, toasted

Preparation

onions and peppers

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell
pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.

sauteed ingredients in sauce

Add the beef and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring and breaking up
the beef with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

cooking flavors together

Stir in ¼ c. water, the tomato sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar,
sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer,
stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

Sloppy Joes

Toast the buns. Place the bottom halves of the buns, cut side up, on warmed individual plates
and top with the beef mixture, dividing it equally. Cover with the bun tops and serve right away.

Makes 6 sandwiches

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Spice up Your Night with some Southern Style Taco Soup


Taco Soup

Taco Soup is something I discovered when I lived down South in Atlanta. My friend’s Mom (a great Southern cook from Alabama) made this for us one winter night and it was strangely delicious – similar to chili yet a warm flavorful soup with corn, black beans, kidney beans and green chilies and diced tomatoes. The key is the taco seasoning and ranch salad dressing mix – it gives it tons of flavor and a creamy consistency. Top it off with corn chips, sour cream, jalapenos and grated sharp cheddar and you’ve got a hearty soup that eats like a meal. Delish!

Southern Style Taco Soup

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2-6 hours
Makes 12-16 servings

2 lbs ground beef

2 cups diced Sweet Vidalia onion

1 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can dark red kidney beans

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can sweet white kernel baby corn, drained

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles (Rotel)

2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles

1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix

1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix

Corn chips, for serving

Sour cream, for garnish

Grated sharp cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, for garnish

Sliced Jalapenos, for garnish

1 bunch of Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix,and simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. Alternatively you can cook the soup in a slow cooker on low for about 6 hours which really makes the flavors meld together.

Serve with corn chips in the bowl and pour soup over the chips. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, fresh cilantro and sliced jalapenos.

Adapted from original recipe from memory and Paula Deen’s recipe on Food Network.

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