You’ve probably eaten sloppy joes plenty of times, but did you ever stop to think about where the dish came from? It’s a recipe that shows up in plenty of early 20th-century American cookbooks, under a variety of names: toasted deviled hamburgers, Hamburg a la Creole, Beef Mironton, chopped meat sandwiches, and even minced beef Spanish style.
It’s widely believed that the sloppy joe had its roots in Sioux City, Iowa, as a “loose meat sandwich” at a cafe in 1930. It was the creation of a cook named, aptly, Joe.
By the 1960s, food companies began producing packaged sloppy joe sauce, known as Manwich, but you don’t have to settle for a sauce out of a can. Try your own recipe, or ours, and mix it up. The basic contents of the sloppy joe is ground beef with tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. You can really make a meal out of sloppy joes by including onions, bell peppers, and maybe even celery.
Just for a bit of added trivia, before Joe made his loose meat sandwiches, the term “sloppy Joe’s” had a completely different meaning. It was used to refer to a type of casual clothing or a cheap restaurant or lunch counter serving cheap food quickly. Of course, the culinary delight that is a sloppy joe can definitely be served quickly, so maybe that definition is still applicable.
For my “healthier” Sloppy Joe recipe, I’m going to recreate the awesome “Manwich” style flavor that I loved as a kid. And, do it using ground Turkey. This amazing dish is a dinner time meal for both young and old alike.
- 4 Hawaiian Rolls
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1lb Ground Turkey
- 1/4 Cup Chopped White Onion
- 1/4 Cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
- 2 Grated Carrots
- 2 Coves Minced Garlic
- 1 Tsp Yellow Mustard
- 3/4 Cup Ketchup
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Heat a frying pan with Olive Oil on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, green peppers and garlic to the pan. Fry until the onion becomes translucent. Then, make a well in the center of the vegetables and brown the ground turkey. Add a pinch of salt to the turkey while it browns. Once browned, mix together and let fry for about another minute.
- Make another well in the center of the pan. Add the tomato paste and fry off the tartness for about 1 minute. Now, mix all together again.
- Add the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and reduce the heat. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Then, add the Worcestershire Sauce and stir in well. Let simmer for another 2 - 3 minutes. Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Leave the Hawaiian rolls connected. Using a bread knife, cut the tops off the rolls. Spoon the Sloppy Joe mixture onto the bottom of the rolls. Cover and then use the break knife to cut separate the individual rolls.
- Serve with cold slaw, fries or chips.