Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A new approach to meat and potatoes...

I love those homemade burger buns that we often prepare and they make for a great vehicle to serve sloppy joe's on! However, for the version of sloppy joe's I made tonight, we decided to change things up and pour the juicy meat mixture over sweet potatoes!

Once we had finished cooking the ground chicken (as always, I do this at home in the food processor so I can control the texture and mix in a bit of dark meat for flavor) for this Chicken Sloppy Joe on Sweet Potatoes dish, we scooped the meat out and started softening a chopped onion, a thinly sliced stalk of celery and a few chunky pieces of sweet red bell pepper. So the spices had a chance to gently toast, we also added the chili powder, dried oregano and a pinch of cayenne pepper with the vegetables.

Now, to turn the joe's sloppy (hmm... yeah that sounded odd in my head too), we stirred in a couple cups of salsa and a few splashes of tomato juice. We used a habanero salsa as Jeff craves fiery foods with abandon, but use whichever mild, medium or as hot-as-you-can-stand-it if you like. Just let it cook down for a few minutes so the flavors intensify and most of the excess liquid evaporates. You want it movin' and groovin' in the skillet, but not drowning in juices. We baked our sweet potatoes in the oven just because that's what we prefer, but if you are in a time crunch, you could always heat them in the microwave to speed things along. If you choose that method, it should take just about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your microwave and size of the potatoes.

While it was exceedingly spicy (a good burn though) from using Jeff's habanero salsa, the tender sweet potato was a perfect backdrop to help tame the heat. This was fitting as I found there was just enough of the meaty mixture and the potato to get a forkful of each without having one or the other leftover. Jeff commented that he thought a few minced cloves of garlic might have been nice to toss in with the vegetables - I agree, but I also think it would depend on the salsa you use.


  1. Oh yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about!! So tell me more about your ground chicken...I'm all ears!

  2. Gigi - What do you want to know?

  3. What an inventive way of eating the sloppy joes. I love the idea.

  4. I've never attempted making my own ground meat before...but love the idea of doing it in the food processor! So, how do you go about it? What is your ratio of white:dark meat when using poultry? Do you add any seasonings/spices directly to the food processor? I will soooo do this because buying ground meat makes me a bit squeamish - who knows WHAT is in there!! Thanks Joe!

  5. I know that you sometimes use should try tofu sloppy joes! They are actually really really good--especially if you freeze and then thaw the tofu before hand (it changes the texture of the tofu).

    I love the idea of serving this over sweet-potatoes!


  6. DavidinBerkeley8/21/2008 09:04:00 PM

    I just discovered this blog while searching for a broccoli chowder recipe.

    You two fellas must a) have kids, b) have appetites the size of a small industrial nation, c) have some miracle weight-loss strategy or d) some combination of the above.

    If not, I am amazed you can cook AND eat as much as this blog seems to indicate.

  7. Re-orienting this recipe toward Asian spices (maybe the traditional 5-spice blend) and sauces would make a really swell Asian Sloppy Joe. I used Hoisin sauce and green onions in another recipe I have.

  8. DavidinBerkeley8/21/2008 09:16:00 PM

    My Asian idea above might not work with sweet potatoes, though, since Hoisin sauce I think has a measure of sweetness to it.

  9. Helene - It was a fun change!

    Gigi - it really depends on what I'm using the chicken for, but I usually do 1/3 dark meat and the rest white. I just chunk it into pieces and toss them into the processor - pulse just until the pieces are coarsely ground/chopped. I don't add seasonings/spices unless I'm making a sausage or whatnot.

    Courtney - that is a good idea! It has been awhile since we've used tofu.

    David - the answer is B! We are just active people... I am always up moving around and doing something!

    David - It might make it a bit sweet, but that sounds tasty enough that I'd just use a regular baked russet!

  10. BIG thanks Joe ~ I'm going to make ground chicken and turkey this weekend! Woohooo!!

  11. Great recipe! We made this tonight (only omitting the red pepper, and that is only because we ran out) and loved it! Personally, I'll cut the chili powder back a hair the next time I make it.

  12. Justin - Thanks for the feedback!