October 11, 2015

Portobello Sloppy Joe's

Hey friends! It's been a long time since I posted on this blog, but that's all about to change. If you followed my summer adventures on the blog, The Thinking Spoon, you will know that I had surgery to remove a rare and fast-growing 4.5x5cm tumor from my left breast. The surgery wasn't too bad at all, but I suffered severe bronchitis and a disgusting staph infection on my leg afterward. So, it's not been the greatest summer. I'm still weak and I've put on a lot of weight from all my time spent convalescing, but I'm finally starting to perk up. And I'm ready to reclaim my health! The recipes that I will feature from here on out will focus on maximizing nutritional benefits. I need to lose weight, get strong, and make darn sure I don't wind up with another cancer scare. I hope you'll come along with me and offer your support and suggestions along the way. I love hearing from you guys! So, let's get started with a new recipe in a new year from a new gonna-get-healthy Jen. 

In the South we like our Sloppy Joe's kind of sweet, with a maple-y BBQ flavor. If you prefer them more on the savory side, leave out the sugar and ketchup, and just add an extra tablespoon or so of tomato paste, along with some savory spices of your choosing. You can't mess this one up. Just taste as you go and you'll end up with something fun, yummy, and really, really messy on your plate, which is why they have the word "sloppy" right there in the title.
I topped mine with homemade pico de gallo, but I think pickled jalapenos or just straight-up lettuce and tomato would be nice too. My husband likes to spritz his with classic hot sauce and my daughter likes to eat hers on tortilla chips. You seriously can't go wrong. I hope you enjoy these!
<1 pound portobello mushroom caps, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 large sweet onion, small dice 1 large red bell pepper, small dice 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cheap beer, divided
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional, depending on your budget)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar
A few drops of liquid smoke
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 hamburger buns
Toppings of your choice (homemade pico de gallo is pictured)

  • Whirl the mushrooms in batches in a food processor until very finely chopped, scraping the sides as needed to incorporate larger chunks. Don't pulse them so long that they liquify.
  • Drizzle oil into a hot cast iron skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add 1 tablespoon of the beer and continue to cook for a few minutes more.
  • Add walnuts and red bell pepper to the pan, along with an additional tablespoon of beer, and cook until the pepper pieces are tender.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and well-incorporated.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except buns and toppings (d'uh). Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a taste and consistency that you like. Feel free to fiddle with the flavors, add some other spices, or jazz it up any way you like it. 
  • When you get it where you want it, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to rest a few minutes. It will thicken a bit as it rests.
  • Spoon onto toasted buns and top with your favorite stuff. 
  • Enjoy!

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