You may be asking why this blog is called "The Lunchbox Tree." I was raised by a family whose memories were made in the kitchen and at the table. One of my favorite stories came from "Ozma of Oz," by L. Frank Baum:
"...the little girl came upon two trees that promised to furnish her with plenty of food. One was quite full of square paper boxes, which grew in clusters on all the limbs, and upon the biggest and ripest boxes the word 'Lunch' could be read, in neat raised letters.... Inside she found, nicely wrapped in white papers, a ham sandwich, a piece of sponge-cake, a pickle, slice of new cheese and an apple."
This scene inspired me to begin a lifetime affair with all things food; and I hope that my recipes inspire you to enjoy making and eating all sorts of delightful things.
Tweets from The Lunchbox Tree
Monday, November 28, 2011
Turkey Sloppy Joe's
It wasn't even lunch when I texted my husband today: "Sloppy Joe's for dinner?" Maybe it was the overcast weather, or maybe I just needed to reconnect with a basic comfort food. In any case, it made a perfect throw-together dinner.
This recipe is an amalgamation - bits and pieces from the sloppy joe recipes in Nanny's cookbook (my paternal grandmother... more on her and her fantastic recipes in upcoming posts), a bit of the recipe from America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated, and largely, whatever I have in my fridge. That said, my exact recipe can vary; sometimes I'll use bell peppers instead of (or in addition to) mushrooms, but I really like the earthy, meaty quality that the mushrooms add when I'm using ground turkey. Tonight I used small finger rolls (about the size of dinner rolls) to make sloppy joe sliders, but I top-cut them, New England style, to help make them not-quite-so-sloppy.
2 T. vegetable oil
1 small white or sweet onion, chopped
15 or so medium cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper
2 1/2 t. chili powder
2 t. brown sugar
2/3 c. ketchup
1 1/2 c. tomato puree
2 T. yellow mustard
Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
Dash or two of Tobasco sauce (optional)
Hamburger rolls or small slider rolls
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add in the onions, mushrooms, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/4 t. pepper. When the mixture has started to give off its moisture to the pan, add the garlic. Cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
Move the onions and mushrooms to the outside edges of the skillet and add in ground turkey. Break up the meat, mixing with the onion/mushroom mixture after it has started to brown. When meat is mostly browned, reduce heat to medium low and stir in ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder, and remaining salt and pepper. Add tomato puree, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco (if using) and stir well. Let simmer until the mixture has thickened and meat has cooked through, about 8 - 10 minutes. Serve on hamburger or slider rolls.