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Author Notes: I have to give my middle child some credit, as he is the explorer, and once he gets beyond the barrier of trying something new, he actually really enjoys what is placed on the table. But there is one thing that he is exploring outside of my dinner table, and that is the hot lunch program at school.
Yes, the word hot lunch creeps me out quiet a bit because I am certain most, if not everything is processed, much like that frozen chicken tender that is served up once a week. But he is exploring. For example, today he is having a bbq rib patty on a bun, peas, savory potato wedges, and a fruit cup. Yes, a bbq rib patty on a bun freaks me out when I think about it, but this is my way of championing him on to explore new things.
So after thinking about cafeteria food, it brought back some memories, and one of them was Sloppy Joes. —Dax Phillips
- 1 carrot, peeled, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 green bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, minced
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flake
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 8 hard rolls
- 1 bag of potato chips
- Begin by browning your meat in a large cast iron skillet. I use a cast iron skillet, as well as a medium to large pot for the cooking process. Once you have thoroughly browned your meat, remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the canola oil to the cast iron skillet, and toss in your carrots, onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers, and chili flakes, and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes.
- To the larger pot, add the ketchup, tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar, and mix well. Add in the cooked veggies, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Cover, and cook on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes. Toss the sauce into a food processor, or blender, and puree it into a nice smooth sauce. Add the sauce back to the pot, reduce heat to low, and add in the cooked ground beef. Give a nice stir, and cover. Cook for about another 10 minutes. You are now good to go on making the sloppy joes.
- To prepare your sandwich, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your hard roll in half. I like to keep the bottom half thicker so it can handle the meat and sauce. Add the sliced rolls to an oven sheet, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are lightly toasted. Rub a bit of garlic clove onto each side of the roll, and spoon on the sloppy joe mixture. Serve with chips.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. Forget the canned sloppy joe. Forget the elementary cafeteria sloppy joe. This is the real deal.
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