Despite growing up in Ireland, I got my fair share of American culture.
It was in the tv shows I loved, the books I read and the films I watched.
Somewhere along the way, I became familiar with the concept of a ‘sloppy joe’.
It never really appealed, to be honest. Anything that resembled a puddle of grey sludge didn’t seem edible, let alone appetizing.
But then I grew up, went paleo, got onboard the meat train (next stop: proteinville!) and decided to give it a go.
I’ve made a pretty standard sloppy joe mix (omitting the green bell pepper that seems to be ubiquitous and adding a jalapeno for some kick) and plopped it all into a crusty, just-baked sweet potato shell.
You can do as I did and serve the sweet potato mash on the side, or mix it into the beef mixture.
So, now’s the time for all you Americans out there to educate the ignorant European – did I nail it? did I leave out any ‘must-have’ ingredients? Do Americans really eat sloppy joes nowadays or are they a culinary relic?
Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes (serves 2)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 16oz ground beef
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 2 tbsps yellow mustard
- Brush the sweet potatoes with olive oil, prick the skin a few times then dust with sea salt. Place on a baking tray at bake at 400 for 45 minutes or til soft inside, crispy outside.
- While the sweet potato is roasting, prepare the sloppy joe mix by add the onion, garlic, jalapeno and beef to a skillet or large saucepan. Gently fry until the beef has browned and broken up into small chunks.
- Stir in the tomato paste and mustard. Let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes over a low heat.
- Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthways and scoop out the soft filling (I set this aside and mashed with butter to serve separately). Spoon the sloppy joe mixture into the empty potato shells. Serve immediately and top with grated cheddar cheese for extra goodness.
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