It's not that I don't like making lunch, it's just that, for the most part, I don't particularly like lunch food. Yes, I love a good bowl of soup with a hunk of warm, crusty bread on the side, but there are a lot of days in the week where this is just not an option due to time constraints, inflexible schedules, not to mention low energy, or just plain disinterest. On these days the sandwich looms ahead. The sandwich. My husband probably makes the best sandwich in the world. He takes great pains to assemble ingredients, knows just which condiment will complement the ingredients the best, and how much of said condiment to use to make it absolutely delicious. I, on the other hand, am not a great sandwich maker. I do, however, make an excellent sloppy joe.
This recipe was born out of a longing for a good, hot sandwich that had all of the deliciousness of, dare I say it, my favorite food: the cheeseburger, while at the same time having the smokey zing of barbecue. It is hearty and satisfying, kids and men particularly love it, and it freezes beautifully, so can be made ahead for such food-gobbling events like the Super Bowl.
Sumptuous Sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, diced fine
1 pound ground chuck
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup beef gravy*
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
4 slices Velveeta cheese
4 hamburger buns, toasted
In a large skillet, melt the butter until the foam subsides. Add the onion, and cook until transparent. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant. Add green pepper, cook for two minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
Crumble beef into another large skillet and season with pepper. Cook over medium high heat until meat is browned and fat is rendered. Turn out onto paper towel-lined plate and drain throughly. Add drained beef to vegetable mixture, stir until combined, and return to heat. Stir in gravy, ketchup, and barbecue sauce, and simmer until liquid is reduced and meat mixture is saucy, but not runny (or to your own taste).
Place scoops of mixture onto the bottom halves of your toasted hamburger buns, dividing evenly. Top with a slice of cheese and place under the broiler until cheese is melted and gooey.
*If I don't happen to have any leftover gravy from the recent cooking of a roast, I make gravy following the directions on the jar of L.B. Jamison's Beef Soup Base. For this reason, I do not include salt as one of the ingredients in this recipe. Reducing the mixture should make it salty enough, but do taste before serving and add additional, if needed.
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