Now that I have a lot of grass-fed ground hamburger, (that is so so good!), I’ve been messing around with my recipes. My kids used to love Sloppy Joes, until one day when my daughter decided it looked too bloody and announced that she was vegetarian. (15 years later, she is still a vegetarian.) But it bothered my son a whole lot too, so I quit making them. I remember them fondly, though, and wanted to try it again. (but not by buying a can)
I’m down to a mere two cans left of my home-canned tomatoes from two years ago. (The blight last year killed almost my entire crop.) Grow, garden, grow! This recipe is worth using one of the last jars on.
In a hot cast iron skillet, cook the ground beef until it gets a lovely dark crust on each piece, then turn it over with tongs and brown the other side of each piece. Remove it from the skillet.
My meat was so lean that there wasn’t much fat left, sadly, so I added a little lard to the pan. Then I put in the veg: two onions, two carrots, two stalks of celery, a red bell pepper. Sloppy Joes are sweet, and the recipes I read kept calling for ketchup, which I didn’t want to do. So I added a couple of parsnips for the sweetness. I caramelized all of the vegetables individually to bring out the sugars. At the end, I added a little garlic, but barely let that brown. (Oh, and a little salt and black pepper.)
I added one jar of my canned heirloom tomatoes, liquid and all, added back the meat, and let it simmer for about an hour, covered. Then I took off the cover, turned the heat up high, and cooked it until it was thick and just barely burning the tomatoey sauce, to again enhance the sugars.
I served it on the onion rolls that I’ve fallen in love with. (I need to write that recipe up too. So yummy.)
It’s even better the next day. We even like it just barely room temperature.
We get about 6 servings out of it, because there are so many vegetables added. When summer squash comes in, it’s a great addition as well. (shredded in just at the end so they don’t get mushy)
I think I might add some dried black trumpets next time, but so far, I haven’t tried it with mushrooms.