Sunday, July 15, 2012

tex-mex sloppy joe's.

When I was kid, every Wednesday night during the summer there would be outdoor concerts on the baseball field in our town.  On those Wednesday nights my parents would pack coolers of coldcuts and juice, bags of potato chips, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  We would camp out on blanket in the field, listening to Doo-Wop cover bands sing old Supreme songs.  We would eat sandwiches for dinner and then my siblings and I would run around until it got dark and we needed a cookie fix.  Ever since then sandwiches remind me of casual summer evenings spent eating under the stars.

While I have yet to find a Doo-Wop cover band to listen to outside since then, I still make it my goal to eat sandwiches for dinner at least once a week.  During the dog days of summer they are so easy to make and they fill my need to feel like a little kid despite the fact that I am now 27.  Some sandwiches are fancy affairs with homemade foccacia bread, roasted vegetables and goat’s milk cheeses and other times they are simple and scream summer like a BLT does (oh how I love those).  Sometimes I desire a messy sandwich where I end up wearing half of it and leave sticky fingerprints all over napkins.  That’s where these Tex-Mex sloppy joe’s come into play.  They are a gloriously messy affair of spicy (extra spicy for me!) and sweet (from the tomatoes and ketchup) beef with some peppers and onions thrown in for textural contrast.  They taste even more amazing with slices of avocado and shredded Monteray Jack (then they taste like a torta!).  I enjoy them most when eaten outside, listening to my Pandora Motown station and drinking a beer.

Tex-Mex Sloppy Joe’s
Recipe from The Homesick Texan 

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 chipotle chile en adobo (add 2 if you like it hot!)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 ounces canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of cayenne
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces beer, such as Mexican lager
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup cilantro, divided
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
4-6 warm buns for serving
Sliced Avocado, Monterey Jack, and jalepenos for serving

In a large skillet, on medium-low heat, while stirring occasionally, cook the meat until browned, about 10 minutes. (If you like, you can drain the extra fat once the meet is browned.) Add the onions and diced bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

Meanwhile, in a blender mix the tomato sauce, chipotle chile, oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika, allspice, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Pour tomato salsa into the skillet along with the beer, ketchup and half of the cilantro. Stir until well combined.

Cook on medium-low heat uncovered for 15 minutes and then stir in the remaining cilantro and lime juice. Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve on warm buns with avocado, jalapeño slices and Monterey jack cheese.

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