Tonight I made Summer Squash Sloppy Joes using a recipe I found on epicurious.com. What I love about recipes on epicurious.com, besides the huge variety, is that people leave comments. These can be useful in helping me decide if I want to make a dish. I know that if a recipe has the following comment: "Even my picky boyfriend who won't eat anything liked this dish", I know it's probably pretty bland and I should double the spices. Being married to an aspiring Master Spicer, I have to spice my dinners up pretty well in order for them to be enjoyed by anyone around here. Once I've decided to make a dish, I look for recurring themes in the comments, i.e. "too sweet! halve the sugar" or "add ketchup" or "leave out the anchovies because they're absolutely the most disgusting thing probably ever to be added to any dish ever in the whole world". Okay, the last one was just my personal thoughts about anchovies, but you get what I mean. Here's my experience with Summer Squash Sloppy Joes. The original recipe is found here and I'll post my version here on our blog. The vegetables, except for the onion, were grown locally either in my garden (pepper), my neighbor's garden (carrot) or by my CSA farm, Surrey Farms in Brewster, MA (squash).
Summer Squash Sloppy Joes
- 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cubanelle pepper (or green or red, whatever you have)
- 1 1/2 cups summer squash, diced
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar (ughhh! too sweet! halve the sugar when you make it!)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 1.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
- dash of Worcestershire (that's wus-ta-shee-yah in case you're wondering) Sauce
- dash of Liquid Smoke
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
- 6 hamburger buns
1. Don't do what the original recipe says and preheat the broiler now. If you calculate how many minutes it will take to cook this dish before you put it in the broiler, you would waste at least 22 minutes of gas/electricity while your broiler sits there waiting for you to use it. Wait till the end to preheat it. Don't worry, I'll cue you. Anyway, so in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey (I used turkey) until browned, about 7 minutes. I added salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning to the turkey. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and pepper and sauté 2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 1 minute more.
2. Stir in the tomato paste, ketchup, chicken broth and water, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the brown sugar, garlic, chili powders, paprika, oregano, Wus-ta-shee-yah Sauce, Liquid Smoke and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Okay, folks - here you go: PREHEAT THE BROILER! While everything is happily boiling away in the skillet, spread the cheese evenly over the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Transfer both halves of the buns to the broiler, open-faced, and toast until the cheese has melted and the top buns are toasted. Don't do what I did and forget they were in there.
4. Remove the buns from the broiler and fill each sandwich with the squash-and-meat mixture. This term was coined by the original recipe writer. I don't know what I would have written if it were mine, but "squash-and-meat mixture" just about makes me want to barf and not eat the dish at all. Serve and eat immediately. The buns get soggy if you wait. We ate ours with a salad, but you can eat it with whatever you want. Our salad had cukes from our CSA and tomatoes from our neighbor!
P.S. My husband loved it and said he'd definitely eat it again. Even with the vegetables.
P.P.S. Leave out the Liquid Smoke if you want. It's not necessary, but does add a nice touch.