Monday, January 17, 2011

Auntie Em's Sloppy Joes

Welcome to the very first Manly Monday! :P I chuckle at this but, since we joke about that in my family, it seemed fitting to use it here.

As explained in the “Manly Mondays” tab, these recipes will be hearty meals that are designed to literally fill a tummy without breaking a budget. With a house full of testosterone, this has actually become a mission of mine. Especially when 3 out of the 4 mouths I have to feed are still growing!

I should warn you though, that I was taught to cook these kinds of meals at a very young age and taught by some very accomplished cooks, that is definitely not to toot my own horn, I am by no mean in a class with them or probably have the bloggers whose recipes I salivate over. What it means is that they didn’t believe in measuring! Instead telling me, “Bakers measure, chef’s create!” Which I always found a bit melodramatic as an 8 year child but, I’ve come to learn over the years as I cooked for other people, teaching them how to do it on a strict budget, everyone has different tastes. So, while I may like a chicken meal with 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, you may only like the taste of 2. So, you will find that most of my recipes are a general idea of what is used (as I eyeball it, as RR would say),  or most likely toned down in one area or another.
My first recipe for this day is:

Auntie Em’s Homemade Sloppy Joes
There was suppose to be some really grand picture of sloppy joes on buns but, when I went to get my camera back from the camera happy toddler, the rest of the clan ate my pretty plate full!!

1 lb of ground turkey
2 cloves of garlic, minced or diced
1 /2 - 1 whole green pepper, diced
1 package of already cooked brown rice
Worcestershire sauce
Liquid smoke
Fresh ground black pepper & salt (I prefer my own premixed garlic salt)
1/8 - ¼ cp of BBQ sauce, you choice of flavor

In a pan, over med high heat, throw in your peppers and garlic, and ground turkey. Continually break up ground turkey. That doesn’t mean you have to literally stand over it but, just every few minutes you’ll want to go in, give it a stir and break it up.

Add in your Worcestershire sauce and Liquid smoke. Notice that there are no measurements? That’s because these can be very strong flavors and again, taste is subjective, if you want that strong, smokey flavor, use at least 2-4tbs of Worcestershire sauce and abot 1 tbs of liquid smoke. Be careful though, if you’ve worked with liquid smoke before you know it’s a very strong flavor! So, respectively if you’re a more milder type of family decrease those amounts to your comfort level. I will tell you how I was taught to do it - by smell! Swear to the heavens that is how they taught me to cook! It has yet to fail me too. So, if you add a small amount and you can’t smell it, add more. The stronger the scent the stronger the flavor. Though keep in mind, most things begin to get milder as you cook them, not everything but most.  I would much prefer though that you under do the flavors and be able to add more than to go all out and it be more than you family can handle. My oldest son can’t do a lot of flavor but, the rest of the family can never get enough!

Add in rice and let this cook till the meat is cooked well and by all means, let it reduce and simmer for a bit, this will kind of burn out that liquid and concentrate those flavors. You may still have to drain the pan a bit if done right, you won’t have much to drain at all. Before you do, I will give you another tidbit of sage advice that was drilled into my head, taste it! See if you need more of something before you drain it.
Once drained, add it back to the pan and put in your desired amount of barbecue sauce. Again, you honestly will not need a whole lot as the meat will have this tremendous smoky flavor to it. I can never stop eating it out of the pan BEFORE the BBQ sauce is added!! Sad I know but, seriously, it’s so so so good!
Once your sauce is added, just kind of warm it through. The longer the simmer, usually the thicker the sauce, so that is something to keep in mind.

Toast the buns. I know this is kind of a pain but, if you have the extra few, trust me, do it. That crunch in there with the mix of flavors is amazing!
Add Mozzarella. I know, sounds a bit odd but, Mozzarella is a nice dry, smoky cheese in and of itself. Added on top of a sloppy joe like this, toasted bun or no, and your mouth will be beside itself!

Again, you will find that the simple addition of brown rice, is quite filling. Especially in addition to the buns or bread that you serve it on. I don’t think any of my guys has actually been able to make it to 3 sandwiches like this. The times I did it out of a can and “normal” they literally would blow through a whole can and still be wanting more and I was left with none!

So, I hope that you not only come to love this recipe but, that it fills your family up just as well as it does mine.

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