Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A New Take on Sloppy Joes

Foods from my childhood are comfort foods to me - Mac & Cheese, Tomato Soup,  Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  But they're not the healthiest things on the planet, so I tend to "mix it up" a little bit.  When I was a little kid, I loved Sloppy Joe's.  My mom was a "from scratch" mom, so we're not talking about a can of Manwich thrown on a bun.  She probably made a tomato sauce, sautéed onions and any other veggie could try to sneak in there, and fresh ground beef.  And it went on something cool like a Dutch crunch roll.

So in honor of my mom's efforts, I put my own spin on Sloppy Joes: Thai Style!

I started out by sautéing some diced onion in coconut oil.  You can use olive oil if you don't have coconut oil, but I HIGHLY recommend coconut oil; adds a really nice background of flavor (and the scent reminds me of sun-filled vacations).  When they're nice and soft, create a little space in the middle of the skillet and add garlic, ginger and Serrano pepper.  I like to let those sit on the heat by themselves for a minute and then incorporate them into the onions.  Then add red curry paste (green or yellow works, too, but the red paste makes me happy and looks good), and stir that in well.

Now comes the turkey.  I like to use a half-and-half mixture of breast and thigh; it makes for a moister (Is that a word?  It looks weird.) burger, meatloaf or....sloppy Joes.  Break it up with a wooden spoon into little pieces and cook until no longer pink.

How about some more Thai flavors?  I'm all in with coconut milk, fish sauce (just do it!) and tamari.  Tamari, if you're not familiar, is a wheat-free soy sauce.  Traditional soy sauce is about 60% wheat, so when you remove the wheat, you get a really rich, deep flavor. 

Let that simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed... depending on your particular "sloppy" factor.

Add scallions, cilantro and fresh lime sauce, and you're good to go.
I made a little slaw salad to go on top with purple cabbage, carrots, scallions, lime juice, a tiny pinch of sugar and a little cilantro.  Make this early on and let it sit to soften and develop .
I like to serve this on naam (I know it's Indian, and this is Thai, but it works!), but you can use traditional buns...I won't come to your house and check.
This is fast and flavorful, perfect for a quick weeknight fix.....
Thai Turkey Sloppy Joes
Serves 4-6
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup diced onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced serrano pepper
¼ cup Thai Kitchen red curry paste
½ lb ground turkey breast
½ lb ground turkey thighClick to see savings
Click to see savingsClick to see1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarik to see savings
½ teaspoons fish sauce
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, divided
½ cup lime juice, divided, plus extra lime wedges for garnish
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
Click to see savi1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks or shredded
Click to see savings1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, divided
Pinch coconut palm sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
1 package Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan
·         Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
·         Create a well in the middle of skillet and add garlic, ginger and serrano pepper.  Let stand 1 minute and then stir to combine.
·         Add curry paste and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
·          Add turkey, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes.
·         Add coconut milk, tamari and fish sauce and half of the scallions. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
·         Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, remaining half of the scallions, ¼ cup lime juice, ¼ cup of cilantro and sugar. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand (the longer the better).
·         Add remaining lime juice and cilantro to turkey mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
·         Cut naan in half across the middle and place turkey mixture on each half.  Top with cabbage slaw and serve with lime wedges.
Cook Happy!

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