By 300 Sandwiches
Sometimes—such as yesterday— E thinks I make him look childish. After my recap of E refusing to eat store bought smoked salmon, in favor of the fresh, pastrami–flavored fish from Russ & Daughters, E told me. “You portray me as a tantrum-having child sometimes.”
Let’s be clear—I wouldn’t make 300 sandwiches for just anyone. E is wonderful. He is a giving, patient, loving man who does nothing but spoil me. He makes me a better, happier person, and there’s no other partner I can imagine myself starting a family with than him. He is just picky about his food.
But we’re all picky about something! You should see me get on him about loading the dishwasher. “You have to rinse the dishes before they go in there!” I repeat. “And wine glasses go on the right, top rack.” And then, the inevitable: “Just let me do it!”
This weekend, we’re headed to Vermont to enjoy probably the last solid weekend of snowboarding this season. For dinner the night before–it’s still in the low 30s in New York, even though it’s the beginning of April—I craved a warm, hearty meal that would toast our buns and show E that I appreciate him, even when he does turn up his nose at store-bought smoked salmon. Sloppy joes—with toasted hamburger buns—did the trick.
I turned to recipes from a woman who knew how to feed a hungry man: Ree Drummond. Also known as The Pioneer Woman. She’s married to a real life cowboy and tends after four kids, and a dog, on a ranch in Oklahoma. She has a lot of hungry mouths to feed. I took her recipe for Sloppy Joes and whipped it up to my specifications. I used turkey meat, instead of beef, for a lighter meal, and stirred in more onions and peppers than she calls for to chunk it up. One pot, 20 minutes (just as Ree said), and voila! Dinner was ready.
The recipe calls for chili power and chili flakes, and both add flavor and heat without the heat overpowering the flavor. Fresh bell peppers added color and crunch, all providing a meal that tasted straight off the ranch. And it wasn’t that messy. But I recommend having a fork handy.
E flew in the door with a bottle of red wine (a Pinotage from South Africa–we try and drink South African wines when we can, but the good ones are hard to find in America because of the expensive import costs). When he sat down, I handed him a hot, sloppy sandwich. He wolfed it down, had seconds, then scooped me up and cuddled with me on the couch. It was the toastiest place I’d been all day.
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
4 hamburger buns
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain liquid from meat.
Add onion, garlic, and green pepper to the meat and cook until vegetables soften, about another 3 minutes. Then in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, mix ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and pour over meat and veggie mixture. Then shake Worchestershire sauce over mixture and stir. Simmer for 15 minutes, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Toast buns. Spoon our meat mixture onto bun and top with top half. Serve with chip, crackers or pickles. Makes 6-8 sloppy joes.