Sloppy Joes: Updating a 1970s favorite

  • By Joe Gray Chicago Tribune
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013 10:01pm
  • Life

As with many kids of the ’70s, one of my dinner favorites was sloppy Joes. I liked them better than burgers.

I remember the first time Dad made them, flavored with those little packets of dried spices, onions and such. Dad, who worked days, had dinner duty most nights, as mom worked afternoons.

I remember he was excited to have us try this new thing. We were suspicious of the new food, and I remember all four of us eating them with trepidation.

But we liked them and had them often. Which is why being served sloppy Joes now as an adult is a nostalgia-inducing happy treat. There were smiles all around when my friend Ginna made them (without the spice packet) for the gang a while back, as we gathered for a weekly “Top Chef” viewing.

But her sandwiches had an Italian twist and she dubbed them sloppy Giuseppes. Well, my Italian-born mom used to call me Giuseppe, and I can be kind of sloppy, so of course I loved them all the more.

This play on Ginna’s idea is simpler. Not much to point them in an Italian direction, except the oregano, until we get to the toppings: provolone cheese and a generous helping of jarred giardiniera (pickled vegetables). Green peppers, standard in regular sloppy Joes, would do well here. And you could definitely crank up the spices, if you prefer stronger flavors.

Served with a big red wine or a beer, they’re definitely for grownups.

Sloppy Giuseppes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 pound ground beef

½ cup red wine

1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian pear tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 hamburger or other rolls, toasted

6 slices provolone cheese

Giardiniera

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic; cook, 1 minute.

Add the ground beef, stirring it into the onions and breaking it up; cook until browned. Stir in the wine, tomatoes and paste, oregano, red pepper flakes and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Taste for seasonings.

Serve on rolls, topped with a slice of provolone and a generous helping of giardiniera.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 514 calories, 20 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 116 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrates, 19 g protein, 689 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

More in Life

The farm-to-table concept in an easy-to-grow container garden

Through container gardening, you can grow edible plants in pots instead of the ground.

How do plants survive freezing temperatures? With genetics

Plants have evolved to tolerate the weather conditions of where they are growing.

Beer of the Week: Scrappy Punk’s Dark English Lager

The Snohomish brewery’s English-inspired lager was created by a first-time brewer.

Barnard Griffin’s award-winning rose is a wine to fall for

Looking for a bottle of vino to go with your Valentine’s Day weekend dinner? Think pink.

‘Black Panther’ builds a proud new superhero world

The movie presents a vision of what central Africa might have looked like without colonialism.

Mongolian beef is served with rice and salad for $8.95 at Umami Asian Cuisine in Mukilteo. (Andrea Brown/The Herald)
Mukilteo’s Umami Asian Cuisine dishes out savory delights

Suburban eatery has authentic fare, hot soups, cold drinks — and warm and friendly service.

Everett Film Festival marks 21 years with diverse marquee

Laugh, cry, eat, drink and have fun at the 10-movie marathon at Everett Performing Arts Center.

Edmonds theater stresses social justice aspect of ‘Mockingbird’

The story of racism in the Depression-era Deep South remains all too relevant today.

‘Early Man’: Bronze Age animated feature forges some laughs

The movie does fall off in the later going by relying on a cliche climax — a big sporting match.

Most Read