Gridiron Grub: Getting Sloppy

It’s official! As I sit down to write this post, summer has ended and by the time you read this, fall will have begin. To be honest, this part of fall is my favorite time of the year. Baseball pennant races are heating up and there is the promise of playoffs fast approaching. College football has been going on for 3 weeks and half the people are already knocked out of my last man standing NFL pools. Every weekend, the morning chill starts warming, right as the tailgate grills begin doing the same.
Those tailgates and house parties call for heartier comfort food, but it is hard to resist the temptation of the last summer produce. That temptation grabbed me when I visited the farmer’s market last weekend and saw some late tomatoes piled high. The tomatoes, and the fact that we are having a bunch of people over to see the Eagles beat the injury-plagued Giants this weekend, made me decide to whip up a batch of Sloppy Joes.
Admittedly, Sloppy Joes are pretty basic, but at least I long ago abandoned using any of the canned stuff and now make mine with homemade chili sauce. “Whipping up a batch” is somewhat misleading as well since I grabbed a whole bushel of tomatoes and decided to make enough for canning. The recipe below yields 12 pints and can be adjusted as needed.  Even if you are just making a small batch, keep in mind that the chili sauce needs to be made at least a day before you use it.

Homemade Chili Sauce

1 basket of tomatoes (roughly cut)
3 pounds of onions (rough dice)
1 bunch of celery(finely diced
1 dozen green peppers (finely diced)
4 teaspoons of ground allspice
4 teaspoons of  ground cloves
4 tablespoons of salt
4 cups of sugar
2 cups of vinegar

All the cutting can get a little tiresome so you may be tempted to just use packaged spices, but grinding fresh allspice and cloves are worth it.

Mix it all up in a huge pot and simmer for the day, stirring as needed.

Once you have the chilli sauce, take a pound of ground beef or turkey and brown it in a saucepan before adding a pint of the chili sauce. After that, you can simmer the mix on the stovetop for an hour or toss it in a slow cooker for a few until it is heated through. Put out some crusty rolls, sliced jalapenos, and sweet peppers  for people to make their own sandwiches and there will be nothing left to do but cheer!

Photo: JeffreyW

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One comment

  • Cinnamin September 24, 2011  

    Yum. I usually open a can, but I’m going to try your recipe.

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