A recent unearthing of my great-grandmother’s acclaimed Sloppy Joe recipe got me thinking about the nostalgic loose meat sandwich. I admit, the soupy sando has never been on my list of faves. Perhaps it’s the association to the commercially canned sauce, or maybe it has to do with the way it’s served – on fluffy white buns that begin to disintegrate the moment they come into contact with the saucy filling. The whole mess really puts the slop into Sloppy Joe.
But what if, as my great-grandmother did, you took quality beef and simmered it slowly in a rich homemade sauce? And if, like me, a sopping bun doesn’t whet your whistle, why not give it a Mexican twist and serve your Sloppy Joe filling in a crisp taco shell? That’s just what I did, and I’ve been eating, and eating, and eating these Sloppy Joe Tacos all week.
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Sloppy Joe Tacos
Spice up this classic American dish by swapping jalapenos for celery and using adobo instead of tomato paste. Once you have the filling made, there are so many ways to serve it! My favorite is in oven-crisped hard taco shells, but it’s also fantastic wrapped in warm flour tortillas for soft tacos or rolled into corn tortillas and deep fried for taquitos.
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound ground chuck
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle en adobo or, if you can find it, store-bought chile pepper puree)
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
Hard taco shells
Fresh cilantro leaves
Crumbled queso fresco
Sliced roasted red peppers
- Heat a large skillet over high heat and brown the beef. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the chopped onion and jalapeno, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and adobo sauce and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Return the beef to the pan along with the tomatoes, cover, and simmer until sauce had thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm taco shells in a 350-degree F. oven. Serve meat mixture in shells along with your toppings of choice.
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