Everyone loves sandwiches, and they tend to differ from one region to another, depending on the local traditions, food availability and eating preferences of the people. ‘Sloppy Joe’ is one such example of a delectable sandwich liked by masses. It’s easy to make and its even easier to eat. A sloppy joe is a sandwich made with ground meat, most commonly beef, onion, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce and is served in a hamburger bun. Keema pav is a similar dish in India cuisine which resembles sloppy joe. Keema pav uses mostly ground lamb or chicken served alongside of a buttered milk bread.
Like with any popular food there are stories associated with its origin, similarly sloppy joe has its own share of origin stories. Most believe the sloppy joe was first served in Havannah Cuba at the café Sloppy Joe’s in the early 1900’s. The sloppy joe goes by many names, including manwich, slush burger, yum yums, barbecue, dynamite, and even sloppy jane.
In 1969, Hunt’s revolutionised the sloppy joe when it introduced its Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce. Many say that a cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa, in the 1920s created a sandwich of “loose meat” served in bread and called it sloppy joe. In Midwest it is a common practice for cooks to make sandwiches with loose meat. It is a way to make sure you stretch the limited supply of meat into multiple meals. Some variations of sloppy joe recipes use meats other than the traditional ground beef, such as chuck roast or even chicken. The actual story dates to 1930’s. The restaurant’s cook and inventor of this sandwich was named Joe and because of his sloppy attire his creation was called sloppy joe.
Second story states that the sloppy joe originated in Sloppy Joe’s cafe in Cuba. According to this theory, the sloppy joe sandwich was named after the outlet. Because the cafe was busy, dirty and unkempt and had a sloppy atmosphere to it, started to be known as sloppy joe’s cafe. Hence, the original sandwich served merely took on the name of the restaurant with a dirty reputation and was not named for being a messy sandwich.
Whatever theory you want to believe the result is a delicious sandwich with no competition. Today there are many variations on the sloppy joe with a modern twist on the classic dish.
Sloppy Joe sliders – These are the miniature versions of the original sloppy joe. They are ideal for sharing with a group at parties. They are easy to prepare and take less time to cook.
Sloppy joe enchiladas – This dish adds a Latin touch to the American dish with same great taste.
Sloppy joe casserole – It is basically a deep dish sloppy joe pizza. This requires some preparation but worth the effort.
Sloppy joe tarter torte casserole – Sloppy joes are served with some sort of side dish. In this dish, sloppy joe is combined with tarter tots to make on a great meal.
Sloppy joe potato skins – This is another great group dish for those looking to bring something to the party that is unique more than chips and dip. This dish takes a bit longer to prepare than the other recipes because potatoes can take a while to cook. But that doesn’t make these sloppy joe baked potato skins with smoked cheddar any less delicious.
It does not matter whether the sloppy joe is an American original or a Cuban invention. Either way, it is delicious. What else do you need besides ground beef, tomato sauce and bread? Whether it is the original sloppy joe recipe or one of the many dishes the original inspired, the sloppy joe is a delicious cultural dish worth putting in your meal rotation schedule. So try out this recipe and brag about your food knowledge to your friends and family.
Ground Beef 750 gm
Onion, diced 1 no.
Garlic 3-4 nos.
Bell pepper, diced 1 no
Water 1 cup
Ketchup ¾ cup
Worcestershire sauce 1/2tsp
Brown sugar 2 tbsp
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Black pepper 1/3 tsp
Cayenne pepper ½ tsp
Cheddar cheese 4 tbsp
Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet and add small diced onion and chopped garlic.
Add ground beef and sauté to cook, turn heat to medium and cook and stir the mixture constantly.
Cook until the beef is browned and forms small crumbles, about 10-12 minutes.
Stir in small diced bell peppers, cook and stir until softened for 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 cup water and stir, scrape the sides of the pan to dissolve any brown flavour bits from the bottom of the skillet.
Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper.
Add more moisture if required to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom.
Cook until the mixture is thick (approx. 30-35 minutes) and until all the water has evaporated.
Adjust the seasoning with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
Toast a burger bun with butter on both sides.
Scoop out the mixture between the toasted burger bun, sprinkle some grated cheese and serve hot.
* Chef Tarun Kapoor, Culinary Mastermind, USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]
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