Fathers just seem to be inadvertently messy. They do things like wear the new white tennis shirt you bought them to change the oil in their car. Your husband will always grab the Crate & Barrel “guest” hand towels when he cleans fish.
Aprons while barbecuing? Forget it.
No black, wrap around, one-size-fits-all, flame retardant “Kiss the Cook” ensemble has ever graced a father while he is simultaneously basting the tri-tip and his Little League coaching jersey. They just can’t seem to help themselves. (Though their trucks remain spotless. Go figure.)
This is where acceptance — at least on Father’s Day — and the manly, drip-down-your-forearm, messy Sloppy Joes come in.
Because it is HIS day, and you are the bigger person and choose to forget your husband blew you off on Mother’s Day with the infamous “You’re not my mother” — you are not going to be serving Manwiches prepared with canned sauce. Heck no!
You are going to go to the source of the Sloppy Joe, and that is Sloppy Joe’s saloon in Havana, Cuba.
This popular hangout for the likes of Ernest Hemingway (the original “Papa”) Noel Coward and other Americans who decided it wasn’t so bad to travel 90 miles from Florida to Cuba for a drink during the Prohibition era, recently re-opened after a 50-year hiatus.
It was at Sloppy Joe’s that this drippy burger stained its first pair of linen trousers. I kept pretty true to their original recipe when testing it out, but added jalapenos and sweet peppers to give it a more varied texture (less mush) and more flavor.
Bust out the hazmat suits, keep the Spray and Wash at the ready and enjoy.
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin, eyeball it in your palm
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup, plus 3 tbls.olive oil
1/4 cup water
The sloppy meat filling
2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
6 small sweet peppers (yellow, red or orange) seeded and coarsely chopped
2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup green olives with pimiento, finely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbls. McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
The final fixens
4 crusty rolls — I like the fresh baked at SaveMart that go for 3 for 99 cents
2 large dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thick, about 1/4 inch
Pull out your food processor or blender first to make the make the Cuban sauce. Put the garlic, onion, cumin, lemon zest and juice and blend, adding one cup of the olive oil and 1/4 cup of water. Turn off processor and reserve. Next sauté the jalapenos and sweet peppers in 3 tbls. olive oil over medium heat until limp. Set aside.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown. Add half of the Cuban sauce and break up the meat as it cooks, about 3 minutes. Add olives and pimientos, paprika, Worcestershire, jalapeno and sweet peppers, tomato sauce and grill seasoning. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook over low heat 10 minutes.
Split the rolls and pile the bottoms with large spoonfuls of the Sloppy Jose mix. Cover meat with sliced dill pickles and bun tops. Sprinkle the sliced tomatoes with salt and serve on the side — with a bib.