Slow-cooked foods seem tailor-made when the mercury is low. Stews, soups and casseroles can simmer and gain great flavor through slow-cooking methods. But slow cooker appliances don’t need to be stored away when spring flowers start to bud. In fact, this method of cooking can bridge the gap between cold weather cuisine and the grilled and chilled fare of summer days to come.
Rely on a slow cooker for potluck dinners or when you have to feed a crowd. “Suzie’s Sloppy Joes” is a reinvented take on the traditional Sloppy Joe, and can feed the soccer team after practice or a busy family that has been on the go all day. This recipe, courtesy of “Crock-Pot 365 Year-Round Recipes” (Publications International, Ltd.) from the Crock-Pot Kitchens, simmers for several hours and dishes up delectable flavor for an easy comfort meal.
Suzie’s Sloppy Joes
Makes 8 servings
3 pounds 95 percent lean ground
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder
Toasted hamburger buns
1. Cook and stir ground beef, onion and garlic in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain and discard fat.
2. Combine ketchup, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and chili powder in a slow cooker. Stir in beef mixture. Cover; cook on low 6 to 8 hours. To serve, spoon mixture onto hamburger buns.
Did you know? Many recipes include Worcestershire sauce to add a tangy bite to the dish known as unami, or the savory fifth flavor. Worcestershire sauce contains vinegars, molasses anchovies, and tamarind extract to give it that specialty flavor. This fermented liquid condiment was created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England during the first half of the 19th century. Creators John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins were chemists, and they would later go on to form the food company Lea & Perrins. Because Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, it is not suitable for those who have fish allergies.
Tip: To make Sloppy Joes slightly less sloppy, serve on bite-sized slider rolls.