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Posted: 6:01 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013

Sloppy Joes grow up just in time for the Super Bowl


Sloppy Joes grow up just in time for the Super Bowl photo
Matthew Mead
Sweet and Sticky Slow Cooked Short Ribs are another easy Super Bowl dish that will surely please a crowd.
Sloppy Joes grow up just in time for the Super Bowl photo
Bill Hogan
Sloppy Giuseppe offers an Italian twist to a dinner favorite of sloppy Joes.

By Joe Gray

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 and with a few out-of-the-ordinary toppings) for a “Top Chef” viewing party a while back, and you’ll surprise your friends with a grown-up taste of childhood if you serve them at your Super Bowl party this weekend.

Ginna put an Italian spin on her sandwiches by topping them with provolone cheese and a generous helping of jarred giardiniera, but New Jersey chef Ronaldo Linares, who has appeared on the Food Network show “Chopped,” takes cues from his Cuban father for his Cuban-style picadillo. Linares first browns the beef with spices and then combines it with a sofrito of sauteed peppers, raisins and olives.

As with any sloppy Joe filling, you could either cook the meat ahead of time and then keep it warm in a slow cooker, or let the entire beef-vegetable mixture simmer in the slow cooker all day while you’re waiting for kick-off. Put the slow cooker on the table with a vegetable tray and an assortment of rolls, tortilla chips and toppings for a make-your-own sloppy Joe bar.

It’s a step above what you might remember from your childhood, but served with a lusty red wine or strong IPA, it’s definitely a treat, even for grown-ups.

Sloppy Giuseppes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup red wine

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian pear tomatoes, chopped

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

6 hamburger or other rolls, toasted

6 slices provolone cheese

Giardiniera, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin 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 1/4 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. Serves 6.

— Joe Gray

Cuban Picadillo

This Cuban-inspired picadillo from New Jersey chef Ronaldo Linares is another alternative to the traditional sloppy Joe filling that would be perfect for a Super Bowl party.

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground beef (preferably with a 90/10 meat to fat ratio)

1 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika

½ tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. oregano

Kosher salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 medium white onion, diced

1/2 roasted red pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

2 oz. Spanish olives, diced

3 Tbsp. raisins, chopped

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

6 oz. crushed tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

Olive oil

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil and meat. Season with Spanish paprika, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and stir. Cook until ground beef is cooked through and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, roasted red pepper, green pepper, Spanish olives and raisins and cook until transluscent. (This makes the sofrito.)

Add the tomato paste and sauté for 5 minutes. Add red wine and simmer for about 10 minutes until liquid has reduced. Add the vegetable mixture to the seasoned ground beef in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Serve on top of nachoes, hamburger buns or with tortillas. Serves 2 to 4.

— Ronaldo Linares

Sweet and Sticky Slow-Cooked Short Ribs

If ground beef isn’t your thing (or if you want a really meaty spread for the big game with sloppy joes and sloppy ribs), try these stick-to-your-ribs boneless beef ribs. To keep you in front of the television instead of the stove, we kept the recipe simple. Start by dumping everything in a bowl to marinate. When you’re ready to cook, transfer it to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven. Done.

To make sure the ribs are meltingly tender, they cook low and slow while you watch the first half of the game. They should be good to go right around half-time. And if beef isn’t your thing, the same approach will work with pork ribs and chicken wings (though you’ll need to adjust the cooking time).

— Alison Ladman, Associated Press

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. five-spice powder

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

3 cloves minced garlic

3 lb. boneless beef short ribs, cut into long, thin strips (1/4 inch thick by 1 inch wide)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, five-spice powder, sesame oil and garlic. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture in a small bowl. Add the short ribs to the original mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and place a rack over each pan.

Arrange the short ribs on the rack and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Brush the ribs with the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, or until browned and caramelized. Thread a skewer through each piece of meat to serve. Serves 12 as an appetizer.

— Alison Ladman, Associated Press

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