Sloppy Joes are, of course, a long-time family favorite. This recipe will convert that youthful favorite to a more grown-up taste that's just as much fun to eat.
I think the key to this recipe is the seasonings: fennel seed, red pepper flakes and garlic salt. Together they give the bland taste of ground pork some zing, creating the flavor of ground sausage.
While you are browning the pork, be sure to keep a close eye and don't simmer on too high of a heat to avoid sticking.
Working moms can double the recipe for Sloppy Sausage Heroes and freeze half for a quick meal later on.
Once the pork is brown, I like to drain any grease. This isn't usually necessary with a generally lean meat like pork, but it certainly can't hurt when watching your calories.
Another trick I like is using chicken broth or chicken stock, rather than water, to thin recipes while cooking. It achieves the same goal, but adds flavor to the dish.
I've seen similar recipes for this meal that calls for substitutions of white balsamic vinegar and the addition of Italian frying peppers, which are good options depending on your preferences. I prefer dark balsamic vinegar simply because it seems I always have it in the house.
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 small or medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
teaspoon garlic salt
Ground black pepper
2 small cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth
4 large rolls
In a small pot, simmer sugar and balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat, stirring often to dissolve sugar. Stir in chopped onions. Remove from heat for about 15 minutes.
In a large skillet, brown ground pork in olive oil and season with garlic salt, fennel seeds, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Add balsamic vinegar mixture and tomato paste. Stir in chicken broth. Simmer until thickened to "sloppy joe" consistency, about 10 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.
Serve over rolls.
Also, if it's summer time, I might add the frying peppers because I usually have them on hand from our backyard garden. If you use them, make sure to chop finely and remove all the seeds. But if you don't have them, it certainly won't spoil the meal.
Either way, the recipe is sure to please family members of all ages.
And for working moms, a nice option is to double the recipe and freeze half for a quick meal down the road.
Serve over large sausage or Kaiser rolls that can be toasted for added texture.