sloppy joes from scratch
It was time to ditch the pre-made seasoning packet, and so I turned to my favorite research tool, Google—182,000 hits. I went through the ‘biggies’: Food Network, AllRecipes, Epicurious, plus a bunch of church cookbooks. I tried ketchup, shoyu, chili powder, honey and mustard until I honed in on the perfectly balanced sweet/sour/salt trinity of Bulldog sauce, Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar. The experimentation process was very un-tasty a few times, but I haven't used a seasoning packet since then.
My preferred version (shown at left) is open-faced with a slice of extremely sharp cheddar cheese, a drizzle of brown mustard and a bit of relish. However, my kids think this is just gross, and eat traditional sandwich style with only a smattering of grated cheddar.
A little bit of olive oil
1 package of ground beef, turkey or chicken
¼ cup brown sugar
2 good squeezes of Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cored and chopped
2T red wine vinegar
2T Worcestershire sauce
1 large can (14.5oz) tomato sauce
Green onion slab bread, herb slab bread, ciabbatta,
or King’s Sweet Bread sandwich rolls
Condiments (all optional)
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan very lightly. Add meat and break it up as much as possible. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add red peppers, spices and tomato sauce. Bring to a low boil and then simmer for at least 10 minutes, ideally 20. Toast bread and build your own sloppy joes.