R-rated sloppy Joes

Snowy grain bins on this chilly morning.
Snowy grain bins on this chilly morning.

At this moment, just after the sun slips below the Blue Ridge but the sky above the mountains is still vaguely pink, 13 deer are supping on soybeans in a pasture behind our house.

Like all the rest of us, they want to EAT in this weather. I’ve eaten more red meat in the past two weeks than in the previous 6 months. And I’m not finished.

My friend who cuts my hair and I have started providing lunch for the 2 of us when I get my ears lowered. It’s my turn tomorrow, and I’ve fixed these sandwiches. J.M. Hirsch’s recipe ran in the Winston-Salem Journal in Aug. 2011, and I’m sad it’s taken me so long to try it.

My friend will have the discipline to keep half of hers for the next day’s lunch. This will be my challenge.

I’ve made my mother’s sloppy Joe recipe forever: Ground beef, celery, onion, ketchup, mustard. Nothing fancy.

Sandwich ready for last warming.
Sandwich ready for last warming.

This one has balsamic vinegar, two kinds of cheese, prosciutto, dried basil and oregano. It also has something like 570 calories in each sandwich, about half of those from fat. I told you it’s cold here.

Four cloves looks like a lot of garlic, but you won’t taste it. You will notice a different texture — meatier! — because of the prosciutto.

Sloppy Joe sandwiches

1-1/4 pounds lean ground beef

8 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

6 hoagie rolls, toasted

6 ounces mild cheese (provolone, Colby, etc.)

Saute beef, prosciutto and onion together until beef is cooked through and prosciutto begins to brown (I used teensy little cubes of ham because I live in a field where prosciutto is not readily available). Add minced garlic the last couple minutes of cooking. Drain meat; return to skillet and add paprika, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, ketchup, vinegar, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Toast rolls. Spoon 1/6 of the sloppy Joe mixture onto the bottom of each roll. Top with cheese, close roll and wrap sandwich tightly in foil. Heat in oven until warm through and cheese melts.

A soul-warming entree for this evil weather.
A soul-warming entrée for this evil weather.
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