Clearly the situation is impacting Title Jon just as hard. Oh crap, they’re here already. WHY HELLO THERE, and welcome to Kitchen Catastrophes, the cooking blog most likely to prompt concerned citizens to phone protective services! I’m your host and-definitely-wasn’t-talking-to-myself Jon O’Guin! I assure you, I’m completely sane. I have a certificate stating as much.
Your betrayal has been noted, Image Jon.
Now, if you’re wondering what the heck the title was about, or why it seems there's yet ANOTHER Jon in this conversation, let me apologize. I’m in…questionable sorts at the moment. IN the last 4 days, I’ve had two different branches of family visit, went to two different birthdays, attended 2 out of 3 rehearsals I had scheduled, and spent around 13 hours on ferries, in cars, and walking to various locations, all on a weekend where the government stole an hour of my sleep. In short, I’m beat.
Compounding this fact is the truth that today, part of our “family time” was a brief tour of some local cideries, so I’ve had about 22 different alcoholic drinks today. No more than an ounce at a time, as they were simple tastings, in my defense, but still, the events of this weekend have left me…stretched. “Numbly eating pizza while staring, uncomprehendingly into a television” stretched. As such, I wanted to return to a meal we’d had that was comforting, familiar. A sort of mental safety blanket to tuck my tired mind to ease. Luckily I had a recent recipe that fit the ticket perfectly. It was simple, tasty, and it spoke to me of a happier time. Sloppy Joe Pockets.
Stuck in The Middle With You
That’s what I was commenting on when you came in: my stretched state of mind has left my Titular Punnery skills woefully depleted. They’re either borderline gibberish, as the first one shows, or simplistic to the point of insult, like this one.
We got this recipe from a cooking show hosted by Patricia Heaton. She’s in “The Middle”. Haha. Ha. I seek only the sweet embrace of death.
Would a veggie dip do?
But, yeah, if you were unaware, Patricia Heaton also has a cooking show. Maybe some time I would commit to a full review of an episode, but let me give my general notes here: it’s perfectly serviceable. Her show is pretty excellently paired with her role in The Middle: that of a middle-class mother with a job. By which I mean the recipes they present are generally acceptably Americana: Fruit salads, burgers, fun dips and so on. If I sound demeaning of the form, please know I’m not. I know I can come across as something of a food elitist, praising trendy restaurants and ingredients you may not have heard, but, as I point out in CHILI MAC, this is because I just really like most food. A well-made Burger and Spinach Dip are just as valid as Ginger-Scallion Noodles. The reason I talk about stuff like “Deconstructed Banana Meringue Pie” over say, “Strawberry Trifle” is me falling into my own “Sexy Food Syndrome” trap.
That rambling apology for bourgeois sensibilities with hints of liberal elitism aside, let’s actually talk about what we came here to make.
The Joe That’s Good To Go
Sloppy Joes, if you’re unaware, is a simple sandwich with a slightly complex history. In the early 1900’s, Loose-Meat sandwiches were popular tavern and bar food. The hamburger had been invented sometime between 1885 and 1905, and by the 20’s, the “loose-meat” was popular. A loose-meat sandwich was basically a hamburger where the ground beef was left loose instead of formed into a patty. Now, when and where exactly the Sloppy Joe showed up is contested, but here’s what we know. Around the 30’s, “Sloppy Joes” was a nickname for diners and taverns, with a famous Sloppy Joe’s Tavern in Key West. At some point, some claim in Iowa, a tavern cook, maybe named “Joe”, made a loose-meat sandwich where the meat was mixed with tomato sauce. Thus was the Sloppy Joe born.
"Unleashed" may be a better word.
So, at its core, a Sloppy Joe is a flavored tomato-meat mixture in bread. Sloppy Joe Pockets, on the other hand, are a tomato-meat mixture in bread.
What? I didn’t say my other hand had anything different in it.
But, yes, the recipe is mostly a structural change than a content one. Instead of putting our filling between buns, we put it on biscuit dough that we pinched close. So, let’s go step by step on how we did it.
Firstly, we completely ignored literally 80% of the ingredients, and half the instructions. Patricia’s version tells you how to make Sloppy Joe mix, a secret already passed down to my family through the ancient runes.
Called Ker-sieve by its people, the language is lost to the modern world.
This is how the Joe is cooked by my mother, taught to her by her mother, taught to her by her mother, taught to her by…presumably no one? Like, if Sloppy Joe’s got popular in the 40’s, that means it’d be my great-grandmother learning about them firsthand. So, having gathered the ancient symbols of the clan, we gazed deeply into them…and promptly added some random crap to it.
Yeah, we do that a lot.
See, the original recipe calls for celery and onion mixed into the meat mixture. We didn’t have as much celery as the recipe called for, so we added red bell pepper.
I had planned to make a joke about Italy here, until I realized I organized the colors wrong. It appears my happiness is the only joke here now.
But from there, it’s all pretty easy. Saute the veggies, then add the beef, and fry it. Then you add the sauce, simmer for a time, and then you make your pockets. For your food. I assume your clothing pockets came with your clothes. Unless you’re a woman, in which case most of your clothing pockets are lies. My condolences.
Sartorial sins aside, the pockets are pretty easy to make: you roll out tubes of crescent roll dough, and form rectangles by leaving triangles paired in twos, and pinching the seam flat. Then you plop about a tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle, throw some cheddar cheese in there, and pinch the pocket shut.
Like an American version of a pot sticker.
Then you toss MORE cheese on top, and bake for 20 minutes or so. They come out golden, crispy, warm, and just generally feeling like a warm meal on a winter’s day when you were 8. They’re pretty good, is my point. From just a little love and care in The Middle, you get a lot of pay-off.
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Have a great day!
NEXT TIME: WE CONTINUE OUR EXPLORATION OF THE AMERICAN DIET, WITH A POTENT POTATO PRODUCER. IDAHO. IT’S IDAHO.
Sloppy Joe Pockets.
Makes 16 or so pockets.
SLOPPY JOE MIX
(If you have a preferred Sloppy Joe recipe, feel free to use it. Here’s what we did.)
1 lb ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped.
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup ketchup.
2 8 oz tubes of crescent roll dough
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onions, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until brown, 5 to 8minutes. And rest of sloppy joe mix, stirring to combine and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
3. Unroll the tubes of crescent dough but do not fully separate. Pinch the seams of two of the triangles together to make a rectangle and then cut that rectangle off from the rest of the roll at the seam. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Lay rectangles out on a work surface and cut in half to make 2 squares. You will have 16 squares. Put 1 rounded tablespoon of the sloppy joe filling in the center of each. Mound a rounded 1/2 teaspoon of Cheddar on top of the beef (there will be cheese leftover). Gather the edges of the dough up over the filing to make a little pouch and pinch to seal each edge. Arrange the pouches on a parchment-line baking sheet and mound a little cheese on top of each.
5. Bake the pouches until the dough is golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.