Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sloppy Joe (Bobby Flay's Throwdown Winning Recipe)

I'm back!!!

... but not entirely. We arrived in Australia late last night. We are very tired and were trying to adjust back to our normal routine. I think I must have been too overwhelmed meeting Amy from Amy's Baking Diary and Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe on the second last day of my trip and now, I lost my voice totally... Too much talking? Hmmm...

Besides, due to some personal reasons, I have not been blogging much these days and hope that I can be back in my full swing soon.

Sloppy Joe is never the kind of food that we usually eat... either at our home in Australia, Singapore or any Asian countries. I have heard of this name but not at anywhere else and only on American TV.

These days, with the help of internet and food blogging, learning food from different countries and cultures can be so easy... According to Wikipedia, Sloppy Joe is a sandwich, originates from US. Typically, it is made of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. From its name, I'm 100% sure that Sloppy Joe is going to be sloppy, messy and ugly but yet delicious and saucy to eat.

I'm sure that a Google search of "Sloppy Joe" will lead me to many delicious recipes. Among all, I have heard of this very famous Bobby Flay's Sloppy Joe that had won the Sloppy Joe challenge in Throwdown, a Food Network TV program that Bobby Flay challenges cooks or chefs renowned for a specific dish to a cook-off of their signature dish.

Why Bobby Flay? For our LAST Cook like a Star event, we are cooking or baking all recipes that are created by Bobby Flay this month.

Why Bobby Flay for Cook like a Star? Accordingly to Wikipedia and American TV, Bobby Flay is a star. He is a famous American celebrity chef and also the owner of several restaurants: Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Bobby Flay Steak, Bobby's Burger Palace and Gato. Besides cooking, Bobby is also a popular reality TV personality. He has hosted 13 cooking shows on Food Network and Cooking channel and also appeared as a guest in many programs. Among all, I like Throwndown! with Bobby the best.

Here, I'm using Bobby Flay's winning recipe to cook my very first Sloppy Joe. For an ultimate Bobby Flay's meal, I'm serving my Sloppy Joe with Bobby Flay's Parker House Rolls... Very Bobby Flay, isn't it?

As this is our first Sloppy Joe meal, I must say that my family and I can't be critical enough to judge if this is the best Sloppy Joe recipe. All I can say is WE ARE LOVING IT!!! Both Bobby Flay's Sloppy Joe and Parker House Rolls recipes are simply fantastic!

Being a health conscious person, not a bell-pepper-loving person and also a mum of non-spicy food eating child, I must confess that I have cooked Bobby Flay with a few minor changes... I have used heart smart (lean) beef and have not add any bell pepper in our Sloppy Joe. Having said that, I have not eliminate the addition of chili powder and cayenne but added them later after serving the beef to my son. I'm not entirely sure that mine is the Throwdown winning Bobby Flay's Sloppy Joe but I know that everyone is happy eating it.

Although this Parker House Rolls recipe produces very soft dough which makes kneading and shaping kind of difficult to do, I would strongly advise try to refrain from using more flour during kneading and shaping. For kneading, I would strongly recommend using an electric mixer with a dough hook or a breadmaker. For shaping, all I did was to coat my hands lightly with flour and shape each portion of dough into ball shape. That's it!

My husband said that these rolls are the best bread rolls that I have baked so far as he was analyzing their texture with his microscopic observation and description...

"These rolls are extremely spongy! They stay in their shapes very well as they bounce back into their original shape when I pressed them." He said this while pressing one of the rolls in my face... Geez!

"Its texture is great. It is soft and won't compress and stick on teeth while munching."

Trust me that you have to believe my husband because he is usually very fussy with details and he said that it is good, it is really good... LOL!

At the dinner table, my son said nothing much but just... gimme more!

Here, we have a typical American meal that is cooked by the non-American and non-America-living me. Hope my Sloppy Joe is American enough for everybody!

Sloppy Joe Bobby Flay
My first Sloppy Joe made with Bobby Flay's recipe

Being a Bobby Flay's recipe, it comes with typically a long list of spices and ingredients... In actual fact, most ingredients used are repetitive, meaning that they were added to make a BBQ sauce and added again to cook the ground beef. Huh? Did you just said that? Not strangely, I said the same too... Despite of not knowing the rationale of adding the same ingredients repeatedly, I have followed Bobby Flay's instructions as much as I could.

This is how I made the BBQ sauce.

First, I did this...
Then, I added these...
Wait wait wait... I will add these spicy ingredients later!!!
Process all to make this rich and thick sauce

Then, I proceed on to cook the sloppy beef and this is what I did.

Unlike regular mince, this one is leaner with no much fat and "drier".
No bell peppers, please!
Don't ask me why but we are adding more of these again!
... plus the BBQ sauce and meat.

This is how I baked the fantastic Parker House Rolls.

Shaping the soft dough with minimal amount of flour
I don't need to apply anything to these rolls before baking and yet ,they are so nicely coloured after baking.
See! The bread is very soft and fluffy!
I have transformed these rolls to something even nicer... garlic toast!!!
Assembling my Sloppy Joe... Is this sloppy enough?
Definitely saucy and yummy enough!

This is our conversation after dinner and before bedtime.

Boy: Sloppy Joe! Sloppi Joe. Slopppppy Joe. Slopi Joe....
Mum: Do you like Sloppy Joe?
Boy: Yeah! I like the name too... The word, sloppy makes it sounds really funny... like a sinking food.

Then, we laughed.

Here's the Sloppy Joe recipe that I have mostly adapted from Bobby Flay at Food Network

Serves 6-8

For the BBQ Sauce:
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup water (original was 1/2 cup but I like to make mine slightly thicker)
2 tbsp white vinegar, or cider as mentioned in the original
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp molasses (blackstrap)

Spicy ingredients for the BBQ sauce:
You may wish to add these later just before serving these to  the adults if you are cooking for kids.
1 to 2 tbsp chipotle puree, optional but I didn't add this
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

For the garlic toast:
50g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature (original was 90g)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, optional
8 white bread rolls, sliced in the middle or slices of sourdough bread

For the Sloppy Joes:
1 tbsp canola oil
1 kg ground beef (I chose to use 1.2kg of the lean and heart smart kind)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup small dice red onion
3/4 cup small dice celery
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
all of the BBQ sauce made above
2 tbsp water (original was 1/4 cup but I like to make mine slightly thicker)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses (blackstrap)
2 tbsp white vinegar, or cider as mentioned in the original
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper, to season

Spicy ingredients for the Sloppy Joes:
You may wish to add these later just before serving these to  the adults if you are also cooking for kids.
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup small dice roasted poblano chile
1/2 cup small dice roasted red bell pepper
1/2 cup small dice roasted yellow bell pepper
Note: We have not added any of these pepper and chile because we are not a fan of bell peppers.

For the BBQ Sauce:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 mins. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Add the ketchup and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 mins. - You may wish to add the spicy ingredients later just before serving the food to  the adults if you are cooking for kids.

Remove sauce from the heat. Allow mixture to cool down slightly. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. When processing hot liquids, fill mixture no more than halfway of the processor. If using a blender and remember to release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a tightly sealed container.

For the garlic toast:
Combine butter, garlic, salt and parsley.

Preheat the oven with medium high heat plus grill function.

Apply each sliced surface with a good spread of the garlic butter. Place bread on a lined baking tray and grill until the buttered surfaces turn golden brown. Transfer to a serving plate and ready to serve.

For the Sloppy Joes:
Heat the oil over high heat in a large high-sided sauté pan until the oil begins to smoke. Add the beef, breaking it up into small pieces using a wooden spoon, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until golden brown.
Note: As there is higher water content in leaner ground beef, it is normal to have the mince releasing its water content while cooking. Continue to cook the beef with high heat until the liquid evaporate off and the mince will brown nicely subsequently.

Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 3 mins. Add the poblano, bell peppers (I didn't add these) and garlic and cook for 1 min. Add the chilli powder (or later), BBQ sauce, water and ketchup, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 mins.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the mustard, Worcestershire, honey, brown sugar and molasses. Simmer with no cover for about 5 mins. Return the meat to the pan and continue cooking until the sauce slightly thickened, about 10 mins. Add the vinegar, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir in the 1/2 cup of parsley.

Top slices of the garlic bread with some of the sloppy Joe mixture, sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.

After serving the kids with the non spicy Joes, you may wish to add the list of spicy ingredients to the Joes now before serving them to the adults.

Note: Any leftover can be kept in the freezer up to 2-3 months.

Here's the Parker House Rolls recipe that I have mostly adapted from Food Network
(which is 1/3 of the original recipe)

Makes 8 large rolls
1/2 cup milk, scalded or 1/2 cup water with 20g milk powder
40g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature, plus extra to grease baking tin
30g sugar
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
40ml water, lukewarm
1 large eggs, 80g, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
300g all-purpose flour (I like to use a combination of 200g bread flour and 100g Italian OO flour)

Using a bread maker with "dough" function or an electric mixer with a dough hook, mix all ingredients and knead into a smooth and elastic dough and allow it to prove for 1 1/2 hr.

Using your lightly floured hands, divide dough into 8 equal portions and shape into ball or any desired shapes. Arrange the dough in a well-buttered 25 cm x 15 cm loaf tin. Cover with cling wrap and allow the bread to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hr.

Preheat the oven 350°F or 160°C fan forced.

Bake for 16-17 mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Happy Cooking and Baking
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This post was linked to Cook like a Star (Bobby Flay) organised by me, Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Grace from Life can be simple but now, the linky tool is no longer available.


  1. Wowww... the shinny gluey sauce looks amazing. Who can resist such a treat. Yummm.... Wishing you & your family a wonderful Happy Halloween. Enjoy your weekend.
    Blessings, Kristy

  2. Welcome back, Zoe!
    Delicious sloppy joe! I've made the Parker House Rolls too, twice!! We love it! Made it for my in-laws the second time round when they were around, and everyone loved it. Texture is so fluffy soft, and super delicious. I did thought of making the sloppy joes too, but did not have time. Yours look so delicious!
    I'll be posting the rolls very soon!
    Hope that you had a good holiday!

  3. Welcome home!
    I have to admit there is a place close to my home that is called 'Sloppy joes' and I kept thinking what is that.. now I know at last :D

  4. So inspiring ! I am going to do the whole works too. Yay.

  5. Zoe this is just stunning! I love how you've made everything from scratch! The buns, the BBQ sauce! I love cooking but I'd use store bought BBQ sauce (to my bf's dismay! he like making it from scratch) I would love to try making this recipe, my bf would be very happy to help, he loves making bread and sauces from scratch so we'd work together! This looks so damn delicious, I'm sure your family or whoever else was drooling while watching this being plated up!

  6. YAY welcome back Zoe :D :D
    Beautiful looking sloppy joes (am I even allowed to say beautiful to something sloppy), it looks so wholesome! My brother would love to try this, so I will definitely be making it!

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Hi Zoe! You are making me very hungry LOL! I am bookmarking this recipe :)

  8. Hi Zoe, it's been a really long time since I last visited your blog. The sloppy joe looks really delicious, but what really caught my eye is the bread rolls, so soft and fluffy! Hope I can manage to try a Bobby Flay recipe this month and blog about it, I have too many back-log recipes!

  9. Welcome back dearie! Hope your blogging mojo will be back really soon.. Yeah it's like that.. Sometimes we just don't feel like doing something, who cares, just follow your heart and the mojo will come back slowly..
    I'm reading your post at 6am and you make me hungry already.. Your sloppy joe is loaded with 'liew' and I can easily have 3-4 of this!

  10. Hi Zoe, welcome back. Hope you've had a great holiday ^-^!
    Your Sloppy Joes looks so yummy-licious!

  11. Zoe, the sloppy joe looks delicious, definitely meets and exceeds the US standard, having been in US for a long time, I can vouch that. you are amazing, you are a real Star! You would have win the throw down :)

  12. Hi Zoe, welcome back! I saw so many Bobby Flay recipes I want to try, but they have so much chilli in them! :P

    I also bookmarked this parker bread rolls,since ur Hubby gave such good comments, I got to try it too.

  13. Welcome back! Yay for Bobby Flay! He's sooooo good looking! :P

  14. hizoe, i just saw making these parker rolls too. She is evry happy with these rolls too. Your husband is so funny that he tried squeezing the rolls against your face! if someone do that to me, i would hv kick his backside..smear my make up! LOL! ...just kidding.

  15. Wow Zoe, I have never made sloppy Joe...but looking at yours even after a big dinner I feel that I could have a couple of these...yum!
    Have a great week :)

  16. oh boy oh boy it is so nice to see that your kitchen is open again! :D

  17. Zoe, the Sloppy Joes were super fabulous enough...but the Parker House Rolls have brought it to an incredible pairing! Droolworthy delicious!