This preparation is a fine example of what the chef-restaurateur Ming Tsai does well: He honors his mother by tweaking a dish she made for her family. Hoisin sauce provides sweetness; pork adds flavor; ginger and a bit of chili sauce bring the heat (which we have adjusted to suit younger palates). Leftovers can be frozen.
Serve the sloppy Joes with brown-rice chips and pickles. To drink, Tsai recommends a Pilsener lager such as Stella Artois.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 2 medium red onions
- 3 or 4 ribs celery
- 6 or 7 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece ginger root
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek
- 1/2 to 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 3/4 pound lean (93 percent) ground beef
- 3/4 pound ground pork
- 8 ounces canned no-salt-added Roma tomatoes (4 to 5 canned tomatoes or more as needed; see directions)
- 1 lime
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lettuce leaves
- 4 hamburger buns, preferably whole-wheat
Cut the onions into 1/4-inch dice to yield at least 2 1/2 cups. Cut the celery into small dice to yield at least 1 cup. Mince the garlic (2 tablespoons) and ginger (1 tablespoon); this can be done together.
Heat a large skillet (at least 12 inches) over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom; once the oil is hot, add the onions, celery, garlic, ginger and hot chili sauce (to taste), stirring to coat evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables have started to soften.
Add the hoisin sauce (to taste) and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the beef and pork in pinches. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often to break up the meat, until it is no longer pink.
While the meat is cooking, coarsely chop the tomatoes, reserving their juices (the juices should yield at least 1/2 cup; if not, add more from the can as needed). Cut the lime in half horizontally. Shred some lettuce leaves for serving (or leave whole, if you prefer).
Add the tomatoes and their juices to the skillet, then squeeze in the juice of the lime halves. Season with pepper to taste. Stir to combine; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Some of the liquid will evaporate.
While the sloppy Joe mixture is cooking, split and toast the buns. Place a bottom half on each plate. When the mixture is ready, place a generous portion of sloppy Joe mixture on each bottom bun, then place lettuce on top. (If you prefer the bottom of the bun to not get as soggy, you can put the lettuce on before the sloppy Joe mixture.) Add the bun tops; serve hot.
Adapted from Tsai's and Arthur Boehm's "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" (Kyle, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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