Northside SF  

October '09

The Kitchenless Cook
Sloppy joes
By Bill Knutson

photo by Elizabeth Armstrong

While searching the grocery store for an inspiration for this month’s recipe, I passed the magazine racks and was inundated by covers proclaiming the perfect burger. For a moment, I considered a recipe for my own burger, but what more can be said about a burger? For me the perfect burger is usually the one in my hand at the moment. You know the one – the juices are running down your arm, and you’re lucky if you finish it before the bun collapses from the weight of your toppings.

Then I thought of one of my childhood favorites: Sloppy Joes. I haven’t had Sloppy Joes in years, but I remembered the ground beef and onions in a slightly sweet tomato sauce on a hamburger bun. As a kid, I would eat three or four on a standard hamburger bun. But for my recipe, I wanted a man-size sandwich, so I used large, soft rolls from the grocery store’s bakery department. In addition to providing a larger serving size, the crispier crust and soft dough inside help to keep the filling from completely falling out.


Sloppy Joes
serves 4

1–1½ pounds ground beef
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
4 ounces red wine
1 tablespoon agave nectar
4 large, soft rolls

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until brown, breaking up the pieces. Drain off three quarters of the fat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender. Add chili powder, pepper, salt, tomato sauce, wine, and agave nectar. Mix well, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is reduced. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, slice the rolls and toast in the oven at 350 degrees until the edges start to brown. Spread the meat mixture evenly across the buns.

Serve with plenty of napkins, of course.

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