Saturday, 6 August 2011

Beef and Turkey Sloppy Joes with Homemade Fries

What are Sloppy Joes? That is a question a great deal of people outwith North America will be asking when they see the title of this post and one which I myself would not have been able to answer a mere few weeks ago. Sloppy Joes - for those who don't know - are an American comfort food, consisting usually of ground (minced) beef, onion, tomato ketchup or paste and a number of seasonings or sauces, served in a bread roll or burger bun. It was only when I heard reference to them on TV recently that I did a bit of Google work and discovered more about Sloppy Joes. As usually happens in such instances, I determined to come up with my own version and that is what follows today. Given that I have taken a few liberties with traditional recipes for Sloppy Joes, perhaps I should rebrand these as Sloppy Gordons...???

The quantities listed in this recipe will provide for two adult portions (or perhaps four child portions.)


1/2lb minced/ground beef
1/2lb minced/ground turkey
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 small red onion
1/2 stick of celery (narrow half)
1 clove of garlic
8oz (small) can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
2 tbsp tomato puree/paste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 soft bread rolls
4 large lettuce leaves
2 medium baking potatoes
2 tbsp coleslaw (optional)


The homemade fries in this recipe are actually British style chips and it is necessary to start the chips first. Peel the potatoes and slice and chop in to chips. Add them to a pot of cold water, bring the water to a boil and simmer for five minutes only. Drain the chips through a colander and immerse them in a bowl of cold water, also for five minutes. Drain and put in to a tupperware container and the refrigerator for half an hour.

Remove the chips from the refrigerator and pat them dry using a clean tea towel as shown above. Fry in hot oil for five minutes. Drain on kitchen paper, allow to cool and put them back in to the dried tupperware dish and the refrigerator while you make your Sloppy Joes.

Put the beef and the turkey in to a large pot. Heat on medium, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the meat is evenly browned. This will take three to four minutes. Thinly slice the green bell pepper and the red onion. Slice the celery across the way to a thickness of between quarter and half an inch. Peel and grate the garlic clove. Add the vegetables to the browned meat and heat for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.

Pour the tomatoes in to the pot and add the tomato paste. Turn up the heat to bring to a simmer then reduce to simmer gently for twenty minutes. When the Sloppy Joe mix is about five minutes short of being ready, the chips should be put in for their second and final five minute fry.

Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and lay two at one side of each serving plate. Cut the rolls in half horizontally and lay the bottom half on top of the lettuce. Spoon half of the meat mixture on to the bottom of each roll, deliberately allowing it to spill over the edge to help bolster the sloppy effect. Place the top of each roll gently in place.

The coleslaw is optional and if you prefer, you can serve your homemade beef and turkey Sloppy Joes purely with the homemade fries. Traditionally, Sloppy Joes are eaten by hand, so given that this was my first ever encounter with a Sloppy Joe, I felt obliged to eat it in the traditional fashion. Unfortunately, I chose to do so while wearing a white shirt - big mistake...

I was delighted the way these Sloppy Joes turned out and thoroughly enjoyed this new eating experience. I hope that this version appeals to you and that even if you are a Sloppy Joes expert, you will give this way of preparing them a go.

Are you a big fan of Sloppy Joes? Do you know someone who is? I found these t-shirts online, available in a variety of colours. Click on the image to visit the online store where they can be purchased.


  1. Hi Gordon
    this is new to me. Maybe you should get merchandising with 'Sloppy Gordon' on the side, and of course the T-shirt is a must.

  2. Hi, Tony. That may be something to think about - I could name my boat Sloppy Gordon when I can finally afford my own! I hope you'll give this concept a try and put your own slant on it - I really enjoyed it.



  3. Hi Gordon
    I tried this using chinese leaf lettuce because it has a natural cup shape to it and it fit more meat in.

  4. Hi, Tony

    Good idea. Sounds great. I'll try that myself the next time I make Sloppy Gordons!