Homemade Sloppy Joes

You can find various styles of beef sandwiches, beef on a stick, or beef pockets like empanadas throughout the world. The sloppy joe sandwich is uniquely American, though, and something that many people will relate to their childhoods. Most people grew up making sloppy joe sandwiches using sauce from a can, but it is possible to make it from scratch with fresh ingredients. We found that making homemade sloppy joes was not only easy, but the taste was better than what you can get from a pre-made sauce. You also have the option to make a different twist on the dish as well, perhaps making it a little spicy, but we chose to go with a traditional approach.

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Fresh Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  •  1 lb Ground Beef
  •  1/2 Medium White Onion – diced
  •  2 cloves Garlic – minced
  •  1 Red Pepper – diced
  •  3/4 cup Ketchup
  •  1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
  •  2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  •  1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  •  2 cups Water
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Beef and Peppers

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the ground beef and onion into a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat, breaking the ground beef up as it cooks, until the meat is browned and the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot water and stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate all of beef bits into the sauce. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add another cup of hot water, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce is thick and the liquid has been reduced, about 40 minutes. Serve on buns.

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Reducing the Sauce
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Creating a Traditional Sloppy Joe Sauce
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Finished Sandwich

 

Butcher’s Sausage with Peppers and Onions

When we lived in Frankfurt, there was a butcher located on the corner of our street where we would go and buy fresh meats for dinner. Here in Colorado, we have to go a little bit further to get to a butcher, but it is well worth the effort. Everyone talks about farm to table cooking, but for home-cooks it isn’t always as easy. We also go to a local farmer’s market every weekend to get fresh vegetables. This is a meal that definitely reminded us of Germany, not just because of the sausage, but also because of using the fresh ingredients with no preservatives. Butcher’s sausage is a sausage that is made up of meat scraps that the butcher saves as they trim up different cuts of meat. Our sausage had pork, beef, duck pate, chicken liver, and chicken. It sounds like a crazy combination, but it tasted really good. Obviously, this recipe works well with bratwurst, beef sausage, or almost any type of sausage. You can also use green pepper if you’d like, but red and orange peppers are a little sweeter. Because the sausage has a lot of seasonings inside of it, there isn’t any reason to add anything other than some salt and pepper.

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Peppers and Onion from the Farmer’s Market

INGREDIENTS

  •  Two Links of Butcher’s Sausage
  •  1 Red Pepper – sliced
  •  1 Orange Pepper – sliced
  •  1/2 Red Onion – sliced
  •  2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  •  2 Buns or Hoagie Rolls
  •  Dijon Mustard
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
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Browned Sausage and Caramelized Vegetables

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a large skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. Be sure to slice the peppers and onion into similar size strips. Place the peppers in the pan and sauté them for about 5 to 6 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and continue to sauté until peppers and onion begin to caramelize, about another 4 to 5 minutes. Butterfly the sausage and place them into the center of the pan, moving the peppers and onion towards the edge of the pan, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side until the sausage begins to brown. Spread the mustard onto the bun, place the sausage cut-side down, and cover with peppers and onion.

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Sautéing the Peppers and Onion
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Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

 

Enjoying the Food of the Southwest

Living in Colorado, we are surrounded by states that embrace southwestern flavors. Whether visiting New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, or our own state, southwestern flavors can be found everywhere. Tacos, burritos, Huevos rancheros, enchiladas, guacamole, and all kinds of peppers can be found on menus in almost every city. We have tried to recreate several of the dishes that we’ve had during our travels throughout the area as well as we have some of our own that we’ve grown up eating.

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Crab Queso in Austin, Texas
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Con Carne Burrito in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Huevos Rancheros in Sante Fe, New Mexico

Southwestern food is full of spices and packed with flavor, but usually it is just a mild heat. Some places offer the choice of sauce to put over your food, usually ranging from mild to hot, with the green sauce usually being the hottest. One nice thing about southwestern food is that the same flavors work with different types of proteins like pork, beef, and shrimp, but it can also be made to be vegetarian as well. Since we like to share anyway, the portions are usually large enough for us to still have leftovers to take home with us.

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Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Chili Relleno
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Pork Burritos with Spicy Green Chili Sauce
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Chili Pork Verde

As we get ready to leave for Moab, Utah tomorrow, we expect that we will likely find many southwestern options available to us when we arrive. Hopefully we’ll find some of the creative dishes that we found in Scottsdale, Arizona and Sante Fe, New Mexico. We don’t have a favorite type of food, but we certainly enjoy good southwestern dishes when we are in the mood for something a little spicy.

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Grilled Corn and Chipotle Soup from the Restaurant
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Carnitas Burrito Served Enchilada Style
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Our Version of Southwestern Corn Chowder