Save time on prep by pulsing roughly chopped veggies in a food processor.
Brown the meat well. Don't crowd the pan, work in batches, and don't stir the meat until it is well browned on one side.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced carrots (can sub chopped bell pepper)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 cups tomato sauce (or 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, puréed)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 4 hamburger buns
1 Sauté the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the minced carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. (If you are using bell pepper instead of carrots, add those at the same time as the onions.)
Add the chopped onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about 5 more minutes.
Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat. Remove vegetables from the pan to a medium sized bowl, set aside.
2 Brown the ground beef: Using the same pan (or you can cook the meat at the same time as the vegetables in a separate pan to save time), crumble the ground beef into the pan. If you are using extra lean beef, you may need to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Sprinkle the meat with salt.
Do not stir the ground beef, just let it cook until it is well browned on one side. Then flip the pieces over and brown the second side.
If you're cooking in batches, use a slotted spoon to remove the ground beef from the pan (can add to the set-aside vegetables) and repeat with the rest of the ground beef.
When the meat is done cooking, strain off all but 1 tablespoon of any fat left in the pan.
3 Make the sloppy joe mix: Return the cooked ground beef and vegetables to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to break up any chunks of ground beef into smaller bits.
Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add ground cloves, thyme, and cayenne pepper.
Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
4 Serve the sloppy joes: Serve immediately, or refrigerate to make ahead and reheat to serve. Serve with toasted hamburger buns.