Monday, June 14, 2010

Sloppy Jays

A quick internet search (okay, maybe I jumped straight to Wikipedia) schooled me on the history of sloppy joes. The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, and it was actually named for the establishment, not the consistency of the meat. According to the bar/restaurant's website, "It was [Ernest] Hemingway, a favorite patron of Russell's bar from the start, who encouraged [the establishment's] name change to Sloppy Joe's. The new name was adopted from Jose Garcia Rio Havana club selling liquor and iced seafood. Because the floor was always wet with melted ice, his patrons taunted this Spanish Joe with running a sloppy place... and the name stuck."

Elsewhere the sandwich-form sloppy joes are also referred to as:
  • Yip Yips in Southern Illinois near St Louis.
  • Yum Yums in parts of the Midwest USA, particularly in Nebraska
  • Wimpies in parts of the Northeast USA, especially Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Slushburgers in parts of the Upper Midwest, particularly in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota
  • Barbecues in other areas of the Upper Midwest, and also in some parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Hot Tamales in parts of southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in the Sheboygan area despite the fact that tamales are a completely different food item.
  • Taverns in parts of northwest Iowa and Minnesota.
  • Sloppy Janes in parts of central Minnesota.
  • Steamers in parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.
  • Gulash (not to be confused with Goulash) in parts of the Upper Midwest, especially in areas where people of Scandinavian heritage, boasting Viking roots, are prominent.
  • Dynamites in northern Rhode Island.
Not to call anyone out or anything, but Jay ate 4 of these babies, thereby making my name quite suitable. Still, for those Modern Family fans, you will know that this recipe title is not original. It comes from an episode wherein Jay (played by Al Bundy) hosts Jay's night for his grandkids; they all hang out in their p-Jays, eat Sloppy Jays, and watch a western movie. Though there was no cowboy gunfire action in our apartment this evening, I can definitely say that we highly enjoyed these Jays!
The Stuff:
  • 1 to 2 medium-sized sauté pans
  • small mixing bowl
  • largish sauté pan
The Edibles:
  • olive oil non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or the equivalent in jarred or powdered garlic)
  • 1/2 (about 1 cup) of a vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 c. frozen multi-colored peppers, defrosted and diced
  • 1 & 1/2 T. dried thyme
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • about 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 3/4 c. reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 small (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 3 T. spicy dijon mustard
  • 1 T. worcheshire sauce
  • 1 T. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
The Making:
  1. Spray a medium-sized sauté pan with the nonstick spray and place over medium heat. Dump in the minced garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, pile the onion and peppers into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onion is just beginning to lose its color.
  2. You can either do this next step simultaneously or after step 1 in the same pan. Simply move the onions and peppers into a separate bowl to reserve for later. Over medium to high heat, brown the meat in a medium-sized saute pan. If necessary, remove grease.
  3. In a small mixing bowl combine thyme through garlic powder, stirring until combined.
  4. Place the meat and peppers in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. (A large pan would make it easier, although I was able to finagle my way using the same medium-sized pans.) Pour spiced-up liquid from step 3 into the pan. Stir well. Allow to cook for 5 or so minutes (at least). Add extra broth if your Jays aren't sloppy enough.
  5. Overload the meat on a bun so as to ensure some spillage onto a plate. That's how you know you made them well.

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