Sunday, August 28, 2011

Skillet Sloppy Joe

Lately, any recipe with fresh corn off the cob has been catching my eye.  This one here, my new favorite pizza and a dip recipe I'll share with you soon.  I have fallen in love with sweet corn on the cob.  They're fantastic little bursts of fresh, sweet and summer and I'm trying to soak up as much as possible before it's all gone.  Even if I do love fall as much as I do, nothing really quite tastes as amazing as summer.

Last week I was leafing through one of my least favorite cookbooks:  Cooking Light's Fresh Food Fast.  The book itself was an impulse purchase that wasn't quite what I expected.  The recipes inside call for a lot pre-made, pre-chopped, specific canned ingredients and I usually steer clear of it when I'm hunting for new things to cook.  But for whatever reason there I was flipping through it last week and there was a recipe for a skillet sloppy joe with some corn, even if it did call for it frozen.  With a simple substitution of fresh corn sawed off the cob through, I was willing, even excited, to give it a whirl.

As it turned out, the shopping trip ended up yielding a few more substitutions then was first expected.  There was no call for onion in the original (an obvious oversight), I diced up my own (even if over-priced) green bell pepper, a can of kidney beans (because I love them) and a few spices to bring it up a notch, because the stewed tomatoes I bought were straight forward and brought only tomatoes to the table.

And I liked the end result.  There is something satisfying and home-ish about cooking a big one-pot dinner in just your cast iron pan.  But in the end, it just ended up too sweet.  Between the corn, the cinnamon I added, and the ketchup it was too much.  But the corn shouldn't go anywhere, because that was the whole inspiration of the recipe.  And personally, I loved the cinnamon in it, it added some warmth and depth of flavor, something fun and different.  In all truthfulness, the ketchup has got to go.  It's too sweet, too much.  A simple sub of tomato sauce though, and I think you're in business.  Guten Appetit!

Skillet Sloppy Joes
Inspired by Fresh Food Fast

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1 corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add crumbled beef, bell pepper and onion.  Saute until meat is browned and veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.  Drain excess grease.

Add corn, kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir in remaining 3 ingredients.  Simmer mixture for about 10 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached.  Serve on hamburger buns or other bread.

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