Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Robb Wolf's Sloppy Joes

I'm continuing to explore some recipes that I have overlooked simply because they don't have glossy pictures to lure me me in.  I loved Sloppy Joes as a kid.  My mom didn't make them often, but I always loved the gooey sauce and meat on a bun.  I've ditched the bun, but doesn't mean it won't taste just as good on some veggies.  So let's give the Sloppy Joes from Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution a try.  I did not see where Robb has posted this recipe online, but if you do some internet searching you may or may not be able to find the exact recipe.

First, I gathered my ingredients.

I started by chopping up my onion and throwing it with the meat into my pan to brown.

While the meat was browning, I decided to measure out the spices and tomato puree so they would be ready to just throw in when the meat was ready.

I needed cocoa powder, chili powder, yellow mustard powder, and pepper.  The recipe calls for tomato puree.  I did not have any tomato puree at home but I did have tomato sauce, so that's what I used.  Is there a difference?  It appears that they are slightly different.  My can of tomato sauce had tomato puree listed as its first ingredient and a few spices that weren't inconsistent with the recipe: onion and garlic powder and salt.

Once the beef was browned, I added all the remaining ingredients.

I was concerned that after mixing in the tomato sauce, the dish seemed pretty dry, not saucy.  I decided to cover my pan to keep the moisture in though this was not indicated in the recipe.  I set my timer for 15 minutes.  During that time I sauteed some cabbage in coconut oil.

Here is my plate.

Accessibility and Cost of Ingredients:  This recipe calls for cocoa powder.  When I was shopping for this meal, I was at Whole Foods.  Since I only needed a little cocoa powder, I first went to the bulk spice area, but they were out.  So my cheapest option for packaged cocoa was between a brand I didn't recognize at $5.99 and one that I did for $9.99.  I decided to go for the $9.99 because I can vacuum seal it so it will stay fresh for a long time.  By the way, cacao powder and cocoa are the same thing.  I'm sure at your "big box" grocery store you can find cheaper cocoa powder.  I suggest buying the best quality you can afford and find.  

The rest of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive and you should be able to find at your "big box" grocery store.

Preparation/Cook Time: I set my stopwatch and completely forgot about it, sorry.  The preparation time was minimal as you only need to chop up an onion before you get started.  The cook time was about 30 minutes.  I need to put a post it note in my kitchen reminding me to check my timer.

Clean Up:  But for cooking my side vegetables in a different pot, this recipe itself is a nice one pot dinner.  Other than that pot, which requires hand washing, everything else went into the dishwasher.  Easy.

The Paleo Review:  Meh.  These sloppy joes just weren't sloppy.  They were pretty dry.  To be fair, I used tomato sauce versus puree, but I don't think that 8 ounces the recipe calls for would have produced the gooey saucy sloppy joe filling that I remember.  The smell and taste of the cocao powder were prominent in this dish.  Before I added some additional salt, its flavor was pretty dull to me.  Was it bad enough that I won't eat it?  No, but I probably wont make it again even to test with more tomato sauce and/or puree.  I had some for breakfast this morning to test whether or not its a dish that improves over time, and it was about the same.  Sorry Robb!

I'll keep my eye out for other sloppy joe recipes to test.