Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sometimes a good ol' fashioned Sloppy Joe is just the thing for summer. We had these with chips, pickles and lemonade. Life is sweet!

You will notice a lot of approximations in the measurements in this recipe. This is because Sloppy Joes are all about hooking into childhood flavor memories. Everyone's "ideal SJ" is personal and slightly different. It's about that perfect balance of salt, sweet, tang, and spice. I found myself doing a lot of adjusting to get the flavors "just right". You should do the same - start with lesser amounts of the strongly-flavored ingredients, taste frequently, and adjust to your liking.

Also, my wife eats no beef or pork, so I make them with ground turkey. You can use ground beef, of course - it's the traditional protein - just omit the cooking oil.

Turkey Sloppy Joes
(serves 3-4)
1/2 lb. ground turkey (I buy Jenny-O 7% fat)
1 T light olive oil or canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
~1/2 c. ketchup
~1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
~1/2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce
~2 T brown sugar
dash soy sauce
2-3 dashes paprika
dash or two of ground celery seed
dash Tabasco Sauce (optional, to taste)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Brown the turkey in the oil over medium heat, breaking the clumps into small pieces. When the turkey is nearly done, add the onion and garlic. Continue to brown and cook over medium heat until the onions are well-browned and partially carmelized, at least 15 minutes. Add about 1/4 c. of water, and loosen all of the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan.

Add all remaining ingredients except salt, and stir well. Heat until bubbly. Taste a small spoonful, and adjust flavors as necessary, adding salt if needed. I prefer a fairly sweet SJ, and added a fair amount of brown sugar. I also ended up adding a dash of cider vinegar to amp up the tang just a bit.

Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes to marry the flavors. In the mean time, toast onion buns (or whatever type of bun you prefer) under the broiler or over a grill. Serve immediately!

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