I realize this is the world of Insta-pots, but by nature I am just the opposite. I love the soul-satisfying experience of slow cooking, and the joy of putting something into the oven at a low temperature for an entire day. A long, slow cooking process is just absolutely life enhancing to me. I received a message from a follower who said she had recently rediscovered her soul in the kitchen and reminded herself that cooking is like art: there are no rules. That is it in a nutshell. In honor of that, I share with you my Paleo Sloppy Joe recipe.
Some people live by a recipe and follow it to a T, but not I. With my Marinated Onions MAGIC ELIXIRS and Heroine Chicken, I stick to the program, but for almost everything else, I like the idea of really playing in the kitchen. This Sloppy Joe is a work in progress, so the next time you look at the recipe you will probably see that I’ve changed it.
Some Paleo recipes are easier than others, but with a Sloppy Joe, cooking the sugar down for hours creates a certain magic. So, when you take sugar out of a recipe, it’s an advanced kung fu move to try to figure out what alternative magic will perfect the recipe. I’m not going to lie to you, the Paleo Sloppy Joe is not quite the same as my original, but it’s pretty darn good. There are a whole lot of ingredients, but they are sort of the palette I work with, so find them, and I think you will find that you will use them again and again–but feel free to tweak it with your own magic ingredients. If you don’t have sumac or Aleppo pepper, use extra chili powder. When you make yours, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @nocrumbsleft and use #nocrumbsleft so I can find you.
Flavors like coconut aminos, hot sauce, Aleppo pepper, sumac, dried chilis, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste are the stuff of solidly delicious Paleo cooking. If you want to cook this way, these are the elements you need in your kitchen, and they are probably more important than having a fancy pan.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Two 6oz cans tomato paste (make sure it is compliant if doing Whole30)
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 – 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed (make sure they are compliant if doing Whole30)
- 3 dry chipotle peppers, ground
- 2 teaspoons salt (but likely more)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- A sprinkle of cayenne pepper, to taste
- A few dashes of hot sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Aleppo pepper
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the beef with the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, stirring to break up the meat, about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep stirring. When the meat is cooked through, leave on medium, and add the remaining ingredients, a couple at a time, stirring to combine well, as you go. I like to watch the ingredients go in and see the dish change as they combine. Keep combining and stirring till you’ve added them all. At this point you can transfer your mixture to the slow cooker, use a Bain Marie, or just leave it in the Dutch oven and place it into a larger pan with water in the preheated oven.
Cover and cook at 200 degrees for about six hours–but if you think it’s done sooner, by all means enjoy. I take it out and stir about every 90 minutes, and it’s fun to watch it transform. Make sure to replenish water in the pan when needed, if it evaporates. I like to try a bit along the way and decide when it tastes perfect. (We generally can’t wait much longer than 5 or 6 hours because anyone who comes within a mile of my kitchen or happens to call me on the phone that day is eager to eat it.) You may end up cooking between 4-6 hours, depending on your idea of the perfect Sloppy Joe. Add more spice or vinegar as desired.