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

Wilderness boost: Why hiking does wonders for your mind and body

There is no denying how beneficial a walk through the woods can be for your overall health.

Strasbourg: The bicultural crossroads of Europe

Fascinating history makes it one of the continent’s most intriguing cities.

The Subaru Crosstrek compact SUV is reborn for 2018

Now built on Subaru’s global platform, the 2018 Crosstrek has superior ride, handling and comfort.

How to make the most of your small garden space

Containers, smart design and savvy plant choices are the key to a small garden with big impact.

Native Plant Appreciation Week is about more than smelling roses

Events set for April 22-28 celebrate the importance of Washington’s indigenous flora.

Tiffany’s many creations fetch top dollar on antique market

His lamps and more are highly prized today, but they fell out of favor shortly after his death.

Ultimate list: Here are the top 15 beers of Snohomish County

These are the 15 the most interesting, iconic and best tasting craft beers in the county.

‘Kodachrome’ reminds that Ed Harris can make standard roles transcendent

The famed actor’s usual excellence makes this pro-forma road trip drama worth watching.

Great Plant Pick: Buxus sempervirens, common boxwood

It’s an elegant shrub that has been used in gardens for centuries.

Most Read