Friday, December 02, 2011

The real can opener and sloppy erins

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Don't get me wrong. I love the name Manwich.

Whoever came up with that name is a bona fide genius. Manwich. Talk about something you can sink your teeth into. And before we get started in earnest, let me come clean right up front and say that I've purchased my share of Manwich. I've browned the ground and poured the sauce, spooned the result onto buns and called it dinner many times.

Frankly, I probably will again. But in this perfect world that is my blog, the creation of a sloppy joe would always include the following scene and would not result in a sloppy joe, but in a sloppy erin:

You dig that? That there is your real can opener and let the world know that when I first met the Goat, it was the only can opener he would use. Yes, I have a manual clamp-and-turn can opener (that I keep in this drawer). No, I don't have an electric can opener.

Enough already. Let's go.

Finely chop one medium regular yellow cheap onion, one large rib of celery and a half a green pepper, (you could use a red pepper, or even a combination of the two).

Get a pound or so of ground beef and throw it in a skillet. I like to get about a pound and a quarter of the regular 80/20 ground beef because it has a better flavor than your very low fat ground beefs (I love that I just typed "beefs").

Now throw all those raw chopped veggies in with the raw beef. Yes, this is counter-intuitive. No, I don't care. Put them in there. I'm serious.

Start browning that unearthly combination up. Get making with the spatula proper, chopping and turning until the beef is cooked through.

Drain time. You want to put a lid over this mother and pour off the fat, that's your gig and I'm not stepping on it. Roll how you want to roll. On account of using a fattier meat, I don't make with your pour-off-the-fat method, but spoon it all into a sieve and push out the excess fat (Al the Retired Army Guy is probably calling the police right now to report me over that one). All this cooked and drained crap goes into a clean two- or three-quart sauce pan.

Now add a couple shakes of pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, a couple shakes of Worcestershire (good christ that's a queer word to type), a tablespoon of red wine vinegar (and you people know by now that if I list a measurement like that, I'm pretty serious about it [read: DO NOT PUT TOO MUCH VINEGAR IN THIS]), about a quarter cup of ketchup, a half tablespoon of sugar and one eight-ounce can of tomato sauce.

If you're like me, you don't have an eight-ounce can of tomato sauce but you do have a miserable little can of tomato paste that will not succumb to your regular clamp-and-turn can opener--a reality that undoubtedly stymies lesser housewives on a daily basis from coast to coast, but (as indicated by today's graphic) not your humble hostess (thank you, Goat).

Yes, the opening of a can of tomato paste is the only time I employ the Goat's old-time can opener. Maybe that says something about me; maybe it doesn't. Maybe you could say the same thing about the fact that I normally do not have a can of tomato sauce in my pantry. Don't complain, because those two twists of fate are what delivered this here recipe unto you. (Imagine me, seeing that can of tomato paste and that old can opener and thinking: I cannot keep this can opener and this recipe for sloppy erins to myself.)

Quit getting side tracked.

Mix your tomato paste with an equal amount of water. That there is your tomato sauce substitute. Add about a cup of it to your sloppy erins.

Stir everything up and taste that mother. Add more salt, sugar, vinegar (careful!), or tomato paste/sauce as needed and then bring that baby to a low simmer. Cover and and let it ride for about a half hour, then behold the finest not-sloppy-joe-sloppy-erin mixture you will ever eat.

Spoon your sloppy erin on buns (scoop out a bit of the bread from the inside of the top half of the bun to take some of the sloppy out of your sloppy erin). Scoop it up with crackers. Have it on regular bread. Put a shake of Frank's Hot Sauce on there or Tabasco if you like.

No, I didn't take any pictures of the sloppy erin. No, you didn't miss anything (they look just like sloppy joes), but in lieu of a sloppy erin pic, here is photo of a woman who just tasted her first sloppy erin.

Happy Friday.

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Jello Toast's Depression Essays said...

I"m going to use that picture to make a mold and then make sloppy Erin lollipops. I hope you appreciate this gesture of love and support.

Erin O'Brien said...

Depends on whether you're talking about the chick pic or the can of Contadina pic.

Aw hell, who cares? There's always room for Jello!

Norm said...

My body can't decide whether to be hungry or aroused. As is usual, when I read one of your recipe posts.

Erin O'Brien said...

Be both! Be both!

(repeated as a subliminal endorsement to BE BOTH)

B.E. Earl said...

Hubba hubba ding ding.

The pic of the woman is nice too.

Judy said...

We've been trying to cook more lately...maybe we'll try this...

Kirk said...

Since that picture looks vintage 1950s, I'd say it's one of Madonna's ancestors.

Erin O'Brien said...

The pic looks like that chick was packin' the silicone before chicks packed silicone.

Serious bunion action going on there.

To Judy and anyone who tries these: you will not be disappointed. They are really good and fresh and wholesome.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

The police have been called. They'll be arriving at the Offices of Erin O'Brien shortly. And yes, they're going to confiscate the sieve (or colander, or tamis, or whatever it is you used to perpetrate this food crime). ;-)

I like to put a bit of mustard on the bun when I make sloppy joes or sloppy Als, or whatever one wishes to call them. Bertman's Stadium Mustard is great for this purpose.


Erin O'Brien said...

Everyone will note that a man who puts mustard on a sloppy al is judging me for my anti-fat sieve technique.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Actually, the food police are. You have been found guilty. Your punishment is watching reruns of Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray for a week straight.

And the next time you try to make sloppy erins, there will be nary a sieve/colander/tamis/cheesecloth in sight.

As for the mustard, it is a nice counter to the sweetness of the Sloppy Al. It's all about balance. So there. And I don't scoop out any of the bread in the bun, either. It is a Sloppy Al, after all, not a Neatly Al.

At least I don't put relish on a hot dog, or a hamburger like my wife does. Sweet relish at that. And she puts ketchup on a hot dog too. Might be grounds for divorce ... ;-)


Anonymous said...

My contribution:
If like myself you use the candy-ass electric can opener (carpal tunnel,I swear)open that can of paste at both ends, and just push the paste right through. Use up every speck and you don't have any aggravation doing so.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

In my Army days, I used a p-38. Basically, a hand held, manual can opener used for C-Rations. Definitely not candyass.


Anonymous said...

If it were made with poultry could we call it a "chickwich"? Not that I would, mind you, but your post made me a know, eating a 'man'wich?. Or we could make it from chicken breast, and call it a 'mam'wich...

Anonymous said...


Presidential candidate Herman Cain, after it was revealed that he had a 13-year "friendship" with a woman not his wife, including gifts and cash, without, as he claims, ever "sealing the deal", has announced that he will continue his campaign as the first gay black Republican candidate.

Film at 11


Joe said...

I have nver had Manwich. I always make my own Sloppy Joes. Thye are never the same since I don't measure the stuff. I should, but I don't.

Bill said...

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

philbilly said...

For many years I carried a P-38 on my keychain. I got it when a friend returned home from the USMC with several cases of rations, just before the switch to the new MRE's(Meals Ready to Eat). Each carton contained various olive drab cans of chow, a packet of toilet paper and a P-38. Things like peanut butter, roast pork and astonishingly good bread pudding. Cigarettes were banned sometime after Korea, I think.
That P-38 came in handy on camping trips more than once.

Craig Hughes said...

Toast those buns Erin and you've gone right past perfect.

Erin O'Brien said...

Toasty buns. A chickwich with mustard and side of Herman Cain.

Add that to this strange hankering I have to procure something called a P-38 and this comment section is about perfect.

John Venlet said...

Next time, add a bit of allspice to that mix, Erin, then, whip up a bit of traditional mayo'd cole slaw and slap that on top on the sloppy erin and then chow down. Ice cold Coke in a bottle should accompany the meal too, and a fresh bag of chips.

philbilly said...


P-38 again

Buy P-38

The sturdy girl in the photo should suffice for opening jars.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

I used to wear a P-38 on my dog tags - great as a flat head screwdriver, as well as being able to tighten the blank firing attachment on an M-60 Machine Gun. Oh, and it opens cans, too ....


Anonymous said...

Hey Al,
(A bit off topic but food related.)
The clinic I work in has a small kitchen. Myself or the other caffeine addict usually get some coffee going first thing in the a.m. So I come in about a week ago and one of the other staff members says "If you want coffee you'll have to use the other carafe, there's Cappuccino in the kitchen, it's really good, you should try it, I GOT THE RECIPE FROM RACHEL RAY..."
She is still not certain why I doubled up with laughter.
I made the coffee.


Al The Retired Army Guy said...

@ RJ: Rachel Ray MUST. BE. STOPPED. And while we're on it, take Sandra Lee with her. Those two have committed more food crimes than Paul Deen on a butter spree. Wait a minute, Paula Deen is always on a butter spree. So they've committed more food crimes than Guy Fieri. Wait a minute, he's the guy with a restaurant called "Tex Wasabi," isn't he? Scratch that. More food crimes than .. than ... yes, that's right, more food crimes than two pimply teenagers texting while working the evening shift at your local fast food joint.