Sloppy Joes

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown:
1 & 1/4 pounds of lean ground beef or turkey
You want the meat to be cooked through, but to also start to really brown – this will be a great first base of flavor.  Once you have some good brown color, transfer the meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl or plate lined with paper towels; this will pull some of the excess fat off of the meat.  Remove all but about two tablespoons of fat from your skillet (add olive oil, if you need to) and return to the heat.  Add:  
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed 
Cook the vegetables until they soften and begin to brown a little.  Return the meat to the pan and add:
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste. 
This is about where I encourage you to start tasting after each ingredient addition.  Add a bit of any or all of the following to the mixture:
Ground cumin
Worcestershire Sauce
A-1 Sauce
Hot sauce
Ground cinnamon
If you add everything, do so in small increments and then adjust additional seasonings.  To bind the mix together, add:
1 small can of tomato paste
You might find the paste difficult to incorporate, but just keep working at it.  To loosen the mixture, throw in:
A few glugs of white wine or chicken stock
Once you have a mix that is just a little on the sloppy side for sloppy joes, reduce your heat to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes, to thicken and meld the seasonings.  Stir occasionally, and keep tasting, adding salt or additional dashes of this and that, until you have something you like.  Once the mix is to your liking, serve on toasted rolls with a yummy vegetable slaw, bean salad, or lentil salad.


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