When I was a kid, one of my favorite meals was sloppy joes. It had been a long time since I had last had sloppy joes and I had been craving them for a while. Sloppy joes are basically ground beef cooked with onions, a sweetened tomato sauce and various other seasonings and they are served in buns. After looking at a bunch of recipes the common ingredients in the sauce seem to be ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard and brown sugar. Now a days I like to add vegetables to anything that I can and I wanted to add some to the sloppy joes. I had some celery in the fridge that needed to be used so I decided to go with my three favorite base forming vegetables, onions, carrots and celery. Next up was the bean decision. There seems to be a bit of controversy as to whether beans should be included in sloppy joes or not and I decided to try them both ways and I split the recipe in half and added beans to one and not the other.
From there you have a bit of playing room with the flavours. The sloppy joes would be great just like that but I was thinking of adding some Texmex flavours and a bit of heat with some smokey chipotle chili powder and some ground cumin. That was the plan anyways. I don't use my ketchup very often and as I was digging to the back of my fridge to get it I came across my gochujang (a Korean fermented chili and bean sauce) and I thought that using that in the sloppy joes would be a great idea. So on the spur of the moment I switched from Texmex flavours to Korean flavours.
Of course the sloppy joes were super quick and easy to make. (This meal is easily doable on a weeknight.) The sloppy joe sandwiches were pretty messy, and I really filled those buns with the sloppy joe filling, but they tasted great so the mess was well worth it. I like the way that the gochujang worked in the sloppy joe both with regards to the flavour and to the heat. As for the beans, I enjoyed the version with the beans and I added the second half of the can of beans to the batch without.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
- 1/2 cup carrot (chopped)
- 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (optional or 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin)
- 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4+ hamburger buns
- Brown the ground beef in a large pan and set aside.
- Heat the oil in the pan.
- Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, gochujang, beans, salt and pepper and simmer for a few minutes.