Friday, October 7, 2011

Masala Sloppy Joes

One of the things I love to do (especially since creating this blog) is to take an American Classic dish and give it a flavor spin.  I did just that with this Sloppy Joe.  My kids kept asking me why it was called a Sloppy Joe so I told them maybe a guy named Joe made the sandwich a long time ago and somebody said "Hey, this sandwich is sloppy, Joe."  So of course these young minds decided that my sandwich should be called the "Sloppy Mommy".  Hmmmm... thanks kids for thinking of me, but I don't think that would make for an appetizing recipe title.   I decided to call them Masala Sloppy Joes because I used an array of spices including Garam Masala to punch the flavors up.  Let me tell you this is on heck of a meal.  I love dishes that I can get the whole family to really enjoy without asking me to make special substitutions or adjustments for them.  My kids can sometimes be picky eaters, but this time they ate every morsel (even the veggie hater).   This recipe is definitely going in my "happy family, dinner on the table in 30 minutes makes a happy Mommy" folder. 

1lb of lean ground meat (I used chicken)
4-5 slices of bacon chopped
1 medium onion chopped small
1-2 green serrano chilies chopped (seeded or not)
1 bell pepper chopped (or 1 cup  frozen chopped bell peppers are fine)
1Tbs of grated fresh ginger (see note)
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic grated (see note)
1 Tbs of brown sugar (or more if you like it extra sweet)
1 cup chicken or beef broth (or bullion/water equivalent)
1 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 tsp of Garam Masala
1 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
some seasoning salt to taste ( I used Lawry's)
black pepper (to taste)
2 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp of malt vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

Note:  You can substitute my ginger/garlic paste for the ginger and garlic .  Just use 2Tbs worth. Here is the link: Ginger/Garlic Paste

Start by rendering your chopped bacon.  After it becomes crispy, drain onto a plate and reserve 2Tbs of the bacon fat in the frying pan to use to cook the dish.

 Add your lb of ground meat into the 2Tbs of bacon oil in the pan. Allow the meat to brown well and caramelize.  The best way to caramelize meat is to allow it sear in the pan without moving it around too much. Then turn as it browns.    
Next add your chopped onions and serrano chilies. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add your fresh ginger and garlic  or the Ginger/Garlic Paste and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add your dry seasoning next (garam masala, seasoning salt, turmeric, chili flakes, cumin, brown sugar). Saute for 2 minutes.

Next add your fresh or frozen bell pepper.  I used a mix of frozen peppers because I personally like the colors in the dish, but green bell pepper is fine.

Mix the liquids for the sauce (chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and spaghetti sauce) and pour over the meat. 

Cook on med-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until the liquids cook out. You should have a moist, but not wet sloppy joe filling when it is done.  Taste for seasoning before you turn off the stove.

Serve on your favorite bun, bread or roll.  I topped each sandwich with the crispy bacon bits.  You can also top it with cheese or a creamy cabbage slaw.  Enjoy.

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