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Recipe: Sloppy Joes for Two


Sloppy Joe
Brian Hagiwara / Photolibrary / Getty Images
Sloppy Joes were always comfort food for me -- we often had them for lunch in my college dining hall. When I started making them myself, I found that just a few non-traditional ingredients made for a more complex flavor. This recipe freezes well, so it's worth making a double batch.

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1/2 pound ground beef (I prefer chuck)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 small red or green bell pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup beer (or water)
  • 1/4 cup ancho chile sauce*
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) cider or wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. In a small saute pan, cook the ground beef over medium heat. When the beef is no longer pink, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and continue to cook until the vegetables are softened, and the water in the pan has evaporated. Brown the beef and vegetables. If there is more than a few teaspoons of fat in the pan, drain it off.

2. Turn the heat to medium high and deglaze the pan with the beer or water, stirring to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the beer has evaporated.

3. Turn the heat to medium low. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until mixture has thickened enough that a spoonful of meat mostly holds its shape. (If necessary, simmer the mixture with the lid off so that it thickens.) Adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary and more vinegar if too sweet.

4. Let cool slightly and spoon into hamburger buns.

* While the ancho chile sauce adds depth to the sauce, you can make the sloppy joes without it. Add a couple of teaspoons of chili powder if you have it, and increase the tomato sauce slightly.

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