I ran a small faith-based community center for college students during my early 20s. One of my duties was preparing lunch one day a week for the university students and faculty. We would serve anywhere from 20 to 50 people in exchange for a free-will offering each Wednesday. One of the recipes in my rotation was Sloppy Joes. (There is a large percentage of readers from Brazil and the UK at nelbell.com so before I shock anyone, let me explain that a sloppy joe is a disgusting-looking but quite tasty loose meat sandwich. It’s an American classic, of course. After all, what other country would name something you eat with the word “sloppy” in it?)
I wrote a l-o-n-g story in another post about how this very recipe recently caused me to reminisce over two decades of friendship. I promised the recipe in that post. I had to dig deep for this one (tweaked quite a bit while cooking so I hope I wrote it down correctly!) as it’s not part of my typical grilled chicken and roasted veggies repertoire.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
(This is a recipe built for a small crowd so adjust accordingly.)
- 3 lbs ground beef (season with salt & pepper while cooking)
- 1 chopped onion (add/substitute/adjust quantities for all veggies to preference)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 med or large chopped green pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 cup ketchup
- 3.5-4 cups tomato sauce
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (can add more at end to suit taste)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
Serve on buns/rolls (i.e., hamburger bun or kaiser roll)
1. Brown the ground beef. Drain well. I usually only do a pound at a time to ensure even cooking and to speed things along. The more you have in one pan, the longer it will take to cook.
2. Combine all cooked beef into one large pot. Add chopped veggies to meat and cook until just tender. (Varies depending on quantity.)
2. While the beef & veg mixture is cooking, mix all remaining ingredients for the sauce.
3. Add sauce to meat & veg mixture and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Could simmer up to an hour on the stove or for several hours on low in slow cooker.
As usual, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, which for those Brazilian readers might be appreciated. Simply serve on bun as a sandwich.
Bon appétit! Don’t forget a napkin!