As I write this it’s 82 degrees outside.
As I write this it’s October 27th.
As I write this I’m hoping the feeling of Fall will get its tardy tail to the party.
Still, I’m using Autumn’s time on the back burner to come up with comfort food for the chill ahead.
There’s something about Sloppy Joes that makes me feel cozy.
I used to enjoy the easiness of browning beef, draining it, and tearing open that packet of seasoning. I used to enjoy that because I realized that the packets and cans of Sloppy Joe stuff include ingredients I don’t like.
In the packet you’ll find: corn maltodextrin (isn’t that just a spelling bee word?), citric acid, vinegar solids (huh? and ew?), and natural flavor (meaning?). Oh, and a teaspoon of what’s in the envelope, yes a teaspoon, comes with 280 mg of sodium.
In the can you’ll find: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, tomato fiber, guar gum (isn’t that an island somewhere?), xanthan gum (surely that’s a villain from a comic strip), natural flavors, and citric acid.
You can make your own sauce from some pretty common (and pronounceable) ingredients. I think my biggest crime was using ketchup.
Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 can good tomato paste
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
Here’s how you do it:
In a large skillet, add the oil, then sauté the onion with a pinch of salt till translucent, about 7 minutes.
Add the garlic, stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
Put cooked onion and garlic on a plate and set aside.
To the skillet, add the ground beef and 2 pinches of salt. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Cook until the meat is brown and starts to caramelize.
Tip: Try adding chopped chipotles with the adobo in the can or even some Sriracha for Spicy Joes. Use ground sausage instead of beef or make twice as much and mix the leftovers with pasta for lunch or dinner the next day!