Yet again, my obsession with America and it’s food got the better of me last night and I just had to make Sloppy Joe’s. I’ll never forget once watching Adam Sandler’s “Billy Madison”, I was probably about 13 and I thought this movie was the funniest thing I had ever seen. One thing I’ll never forget was Billy and his primary school friends eating Sloppy Joe’s in the cafeteria. They didn’t look advertising at all and were served by a disturbing lunch lady, but I was intrigued. I begged my mom to allow me to make them. She reluctantly agreed but tried very hard to get me to add onions, carrots and celery to the mince mixture. But Billy Madison’s Sloppy Joe’s didn’t have vegetables in them, so we wouldn’t be adding any to ours either. I fell instantly inlove with the fragrant mince, toasted bun and mess. There is just no ‘clean’ way to eat a Sloppy Joe…hence the name.
Fast forward a few years and I still love a good Sloppy Joe. But I now have the common sense to add some vegetables to my mince mixture. I now actually vegetable load them to add flavour and nutrients. There is no easier way to get some (read: A LOT) vegetables into your children than with this. They will love the mess and the fun aspect of the Sloppy Joe and they won’t even notice the vegetables. If you have serious vegetable haters in your house, grate or puree the vegetables before adding them, I am lucky with my kids fishing out the vegetables so I leave them chunky. Add any vegetables you like. Peppers, courgettes, corn, peas and spinach will all work with this.
To make this healthier you could serve it on a wholegrain bun but in our house, we only eat wholegrain bread so the odd white bun won’t be doing any harm. Add a bit of grated cheese and enjoy!
1kg mince (ground beef)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large leeks, washed and finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery spears, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and cloves
2 tsp paprika
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tin beef stock (use the tins the tomatoes come in)
2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Fresh bread rolls, toasted
- Fry the mince in a large, hot pot until browned all over. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, fry the onion, leeks, carrots and celery until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for another 5 minutes before adding the spices and tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the mince back into the pot with the beef stock and sugar.
- Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes covered.
- If the sauce looks very watery, remove the lid from the pot and turn up the heat. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes uncovered until the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste.
- Serve the mince on the toasted bread rolls with some grated cheese.