Who doesn’t love a good homemade Sloppy Joe? This slow-cooker version takes the classic up a notch with the addition of smoky chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. If you prefer a milder dish, use only 1 chipotle chile and remove the seeds before mincing. For traditional Sloppy Joes, omit the chipotle chiles and adobo sauce and increase the chili powder to 2 Tbs. If you don’t have a slow cooker with a flameproof insert, do the first two steps using a large sauté pan, then transfer the seared beef and reserved vegetables to your slow cooker.
Slow-Cooker Smoky Joes
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 1/2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 lb. (1.5 kg) lean ground beef
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) tomato sauce
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) tomato ketchup
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced, plus 1 Tbs. adobo sauce
- 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
- 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs. golden brown sugar
- 4 tsp. chili powder
- 10 to 12 burger buns, split
1. Put a flameproof slow-cooker insert on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. Add the onions, celery, red and green bell peppers, and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the beef to the oil remaining in the insert and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved vegetables.
3. Transfer the insert to the slow cooker and add the tomato sauce, ketchup, chipotle chiles and adobo sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, 2 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
4. When the beef mixture is ready, toast the buns.
5. To serve, spoon some of the beef mixture onto the bottom half of each toasted bun. Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately. Serves 10 to 12.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.