July 08, 2008

Smoky Spicy Sloppy Joes for Grown Ups

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
smokehouse black pepper (to taste)

shredded sharp cheddar (optional-for sprinkling)

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic, onion and carrot in olive oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and saute until brown, stirring to break up the meat. Add water, bourbon, tomato paste, and all of the spices. Simmer, stirring occasionally 20-30 minutes until thickened. Serve on buns and sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: about 6 servings

Note: While it is tasty on a sandwich, I also think it would be fabulous on a hot dog as an alternative to chili.

My thoughts:
There is something a little summery about sloppy joes. I guess because it is such a casual dish and Summer is all shorts and flip flops and outdoor dining. As I am over the age of 10, the canned and jarred sauce just doesn't cut it. I need more spice, and for this version, a bit of smoke. It still isn't a terribly glamorous dish but it is tasty, comforting and very satisfying. So, indulge! Have a sloppy joe night. And if you want to go all out, serve with some slightly grown up mac & cheese.