Warning: non-foodie recipe and food photos to follow
I’m going to be pet-/house-sitting for the next few weeks, so I’ve been spending some time getting 20+ dinner entrees assembled. I’ve got about 9 servings of Mexican chicken and a couple servings each of barbecued chicken and beef taco filling. (If I’d skip a few dinners this week, my inventory would grow faster.)
Today I assembled a recipe I’ve been meaning to make for a long time: Snobby Joes. Translation: Sloppy Joes with lentils instead of meat. I first read about them in a Whole Foods circular late last year and set it aside for later. Do you think I could find it today, when I needed it? (Do I even need to answer that?)
I only made Beef Sloppy Joes a couple of times, but I like them well enough that I decided to add the same ingredient seasonings, spices, and other stuff to basic cooked lentils and then tinker.
There are two steps to this recipe: 1) cooking the lentils, and 2) turning them into Snobby Joes. It’s all easy.
Cooking the lentils
I decided to cook the lentils in the slow cooker after hearing on a podcast episode of America’s Test Kitchen that all that bubbling and boiling on the stovetop might be what causes lentils to lose their shape and get mushy. Instead, they suggested cooking them in the oven, but I’m guessing it’s not 95° where they live. I went with the crockpot.
1 cup of rinsed lentils
2 cups of water
some combination of peppers (green, red, yellow, etc.)
It’s a little known Cammy-Squick that I don’t like to eat fresh peppers that have been cooked in the crockpot. They develop a rubbery texture I find off-putting. I do, however, like the flavor of fresh peppers, so I cut them into big hunks and use them during the cooking process only. Then I pluck them out. Non-neurotic types should feel free to dice ‘em up and toss them in there for keeps.
At the last minute, I tossed in a 4-oz. can of green chiles just because I love them. You could also add garlic, carrots, and/or celery.
Give it all a stir, set the temp to low and then leave it alone for about 4-5 hours. When the lentils are soft, they’re done.
To your cooked lentils, add some variation of the following:
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 c. tomato paste
2 tbsp dark chili powder
2 tbsp maple syrup (or you could use brown sugar)
1 tbsp yellow mustard
Stir, stir, stir, plop the top on the cooker and let it go for another hour or two on low temp. If it’s a bit juicy for your liking, you can take the top of the cooker for a half hour before serving. If it’s extra juicy, like mine was initially, you can add a little cornstarch/water slurry to the pot to help with thickening.
For serving, I added a slice of cheese and broccoli slaw on a nice(ish) wheat bun.
Result: Rich, spicy, and smoky deliciousness. The slight heat in the lentils works really, really well with the creaminess of the slaw. I’m already looking forward to tomorrow night’s supper! If I’m not careful, I’ll have to make another batch to complete my 20+ entrees. LOL
I’ll have to defer calories and nutrition info until later. I haven’t divvied up the recipe into individual servings yet, but I’m guessing it’s going to be 6-8 hearty servings at about 120-150 per serving, sans bread. Not bad at all for an entree!
Do you eat Sloppy Joes? How do you make yours? I’m open to to new, non-rubbery, ideas.