Homemade sloppy joes are incredibly easy to make and come together in one skillet in about 20 minutes or so. Browned beef is mixed with onion and green pepper and simmered in a sweetened tomato sauce. The secret is in finding the right seasoning for the sauce!
I grew up eating sloppy joes. My mother was a school teacher, so mid week dinners were quick and simple. And while I’m at it, sloppy joes in our house were actually browned ground beef smothered in Manwich sauce. Not very creative, but at the time it was a staple that I loved as a kid.
What is the difference between Manwich and Sloppy Joe? Technically Manwich is a pre-made sauce that’s used to make sloppy joes. I am not sure exactly what’s in it, and have never tried it myself, so I can’t say that my recipe tastes similar or not. Manwich is marketed as a easy way to make sloppy joes… but in reality, homemade sloppy joes are just as easy to make!
Fast forward to 20 years later and I begin to rework this childhood recipe to meet the culinary needs of my adult tastes. There are basically two components. The beef mixture and the sauce. Both can be updated to combine for a delicious recipe. Add in a toasted bun and maybe some cheddar cheese on top and BOOM!
So now for the fun stuff, the following is the result of many attempts to get this recipe right.
1 lb Ground Beef, 93% (Extra Lean)
1/2 Sweet Onion, diced
4 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, ¼ cut
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Beef Stock (or water)
8 oz. can Tomato Puree
2 TB A1 Steak Sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 TB Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt (optional)
½ tsp black pepper (optional)
Combine onion, red and green bell pepper and sauté on medium heat. Add mushrooms and a pat of butter. Continue to sauté. Add the garlic. Continue cooking until the veggies are soft and the mushrooms give off some liquid and reduce. Sprinkle in the flour, paprika and chili powder and cook to bloom spices.
Add 1/2 cup of beef stock. Mix in tomato puree, A1 Sauce, brown sugar, dijon mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until the mixture becomes thick, 30 to 45 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
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