TASTE OF NOSTALGIA
Sloppy Joes seem to be one of those dishes that fell out of vogue with the invention of more sophisticated dishes. When I think Sloppy Joes, I’m automatically transported to the mess hall at camp eating mystery meat. I hope that my updated and Halloween-y take on the Sloppy Joe will rekindle a new appreciation for a truly iconic piece of American food culture. I’ve used ground turkey instead of the traditional ground beef for a healthier substitute.
WE DID THE MASH, THE MONSTER MASH!
I love turning on some tunes or a good podcast while I cook, so feel free to really get in the spooky spirit and jam out to the “Monster Mash” while mashing and mixing up your Sloppy Joe filling. The seasonings of this dish are super tasty and when they’re simmering smell absolutely drool-worthy. Since these sandwiches have only a few components, I like to make sure everything part is as good as I can make it. I am a big fan of the toasted bun; you can quickly pop them into your toaster or make a little extra effort and brush with melted butter before toasting them in a pan.
PERMISSION TO PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD
Just like carving a pumpkin, get creative with decorating your little monster faces! If you’re looking to omit the cheese I used for my eyes and teeth, cherry tomatoes (eyes) and artfully cut carrots (teeth) would be great alternatives. This is one of those rare occasions during which I am all for my kids playing with their food. Sloppy Joes are exactly that: SLOPPY! There really is no graceful way to eat this sandwich, there will be filling falling out left and right. I like to keep extra bits of bun on hand to mop up all of the excess meat that inevitably ends up on the plate.
Monster Sloppy Joes
Yield 8 servings
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 14 ounces tomato puree
- 1 cup ketchup
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 8 potato rolls, lightly toasted
For eyes: Mozzarella balls (bocconcini) and sliced olives
For teeth: Sliced provolone cheese
In a large skillet, add the olive oil and ground turkey, sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens up, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm on toasted potato rolls. Adorn with monster details, if desired.