Sunday, June 23, 2013

Experiment #4: Sloppy Joes!

First, an apology for my absence last week. B and I had celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Durango, Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park. We had an amazing time hiking, rafting, and drinking tasty beers (Well, I did. B's not a beer fan). But we're both happy to be back in NM eating home-cooked food (I can only eat so many quinoa burgers before I get bored).

Since we were getting back into our normal routine, I didn't create a new recipe last week. To make up for it, this latest experiment is new and improved with mediocre Instagram photos!

When I'm menu planning for the week, I always ask B what he wants for dinner. His reply is usually, "Eh, whatever you want to make is fine." Recently, however, I got a request. "Sloppy Joes!" he said, "We haven't had them in a long time." Tonight, I finally granted that request.

Here's the mise en place for the sloppy joes. Missing are ketchup (because the recipe I modified didn't call for it, but it definitely needed some) and vegetable stock (because I was going to cook the lentils in water until I remembered that veggie stock is ALWAYS better!).

Sloppy Joes - Serves...a lot. Probably 6-8 depending on the size of buns you use.

  • Olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 chipotle pepper, minced, plus 1 tsp adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Finely dice your onion and carrots. This is important for two reasons: 1) we want them to cook quickly and thoroughly for a soft texture, and 2) we want nice little pieces for a proper sloppy joe consistency. My dainty little fingernail is a reference for how small I made my pieces.

In a large pot, heat a couple tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onion and carrot for five minutes. Add the stock, lentils, and tomatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and then cover and reduce heat. Simmer the lentil mixture for 20 minutes or until lentils and carrots are tender.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes and beans into smaller pieces (again, we're looking for that classic sloppy joe texture). Cook uncovered on medium-low for a few more minutes until the sauce is your desired thickness.

I served these on giant whole wheat kaiser rolls. I mean GIANT! This sandwich was a good 6" in diameter. I originally planned to bake some sweet potato tots on the side, but when B saw these, he said the sandwiches would be enough!

The verdict: They were tasty, but not quite what B expected for sloppy joes. He's used to a more barbeque-like sauce. Of course, that didn't stop him from licking his plate clean while I was only halfway through mine. I have promised him a Sloppy Joe Experiment, Part 2 with a different sauce recipe.

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