I recently saw Iron Chef Michael Symon make a grown-up version of a sloppy joe slider (sans canned mix) on the Cooking Channel and it brought back some memories. This Southwest-style version kicked up with savory veggies and smokey chipotle peppers resembled a hearty chili in a way. The sandwiches were delicious served with easy chile baked sweet potato chips on the side.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used ground round, Chef Symon used pork, turkey would be great too)
1 bell pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 13 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon corriander
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper
fresh cilantro and avocado slices for garnish
6- soft sesame rolls or hamburger buns (or slider size rolls if you prefer)
Start by browning the ground beef/pork/turkey over medium high heat in a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, bell pepper and garlic and place in a food processor. Pulse until everything resembles a fine dice. (Or finely dice everything by hand if you prefer.)
Saute the veggies in another drizzle of olive oil in a second skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until everything is tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Once the meat is golden brown, spoon off any unwanted grease in the bottom of the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the vegetable saute, the chipotle peppers, cumin, corriander, tomato sauce and water to the large skillet with the meat. Season with more kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Cook everything together for 8-10 minutes to let all of the flavors marry together. If it gets too thick, add more water to loosen it up. Serve a generous scoop of the filling on slightly toasted buns. (You still want the bread to be very soft to avoid losing all of your filling out one side when you take a bite.) Garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado slices if desired.
If you're interested to make the oven chips- I would actually get them in the oven before you start on the smokey joe filling because they take 30 minutes or so to bake...
Baked Sweet Potato Chips: NOTE: this recipe serves 2 people generously
1 large sweet potato, peeled thinly sliced**
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
kosher salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
**To slice the potatoes: I used my food processor's slicing blade since it was already out, a mandolin or slicing with a super sharp knife by hand would work too. You want the slices to be no thicker than 1/8 inch in order to get them crispy.
Toss the potato slices in a bowl with olive oil, spices, salt and pepper so that they are evenly coated. Then spread them into a single layer on two cookie sheets (lined with foil for easy clean up). Use some non stick spray on either the pan or foil to ensure you can easily peel the chips off later.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans half way through to ensure they bake evenly. They should be crispy with a few brown spots. Watch closely toward the end, they can get too brown rather quickly. Taste to be sure you have enough salt. Serve immediately.