sloppy joe update
I made sloppy Joes last night and while my husband and son loved them I realized I would just rather have chili!
My goal was to make sloppy Joes that did not include high sodium canned soups or sugar laden ketchups so I basically followed the recipe in the Joy of Cooking combined with the one from Martha Stewart that was posted earlier.
First I cooked the hamburger (I used diet lean) and drained well. I then added chopped onions and red and orange peppers since I cant eat green ones and continued to cook until the onions and peppers began to soften. I then added minced garlic and cooked for maybe a minute more. At that time I added a can of no salt pureed tomatoes, no salt tomato paste, some brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and then just enough water so that it wasnt soupy but still fairly thick. I then lowered the heat and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes. At this time we tasted it and it seemed to be missing something. I added fresh ground pepper, salt and a pinch of cinnamon and let it simmer about 5-10 minutes more. The cinnamon was just the thing to bring out all the flavors.
I served the Joes on toasted potato rolls with homemade steak fries and steamed broccoli. My husband ate 3 Joes and my son at almost a whole one. My husband thought they were very close to his moms but some other spice seemed missing. I think next time I might add some chili powder-just a pinch. I thought they were OK but I really liked it better for lunch today when I reheated it micro and topped with shredded jack cheese and a few heavy splashed of jalapeño Tabasco sauce and ate it as is-no roll. I think I just prefer chili!!
I think you might improve this by actually browning the onion instead of merely softening it- from that standpoint, the onion should go in earlier.
Look at some indian recipes for keema and latin recipes for picadillo and you might get some other ideas for enhancements - cumin particularly comes to mind.
...and the aforementioned shot of worcestershire.
I really do think you need a little ketchup. Try Ketchapeno for that lil' bit of heat you're looking for, and skip the chile powder. Cumin and Mexican oregano really don't have any place in sloppy joes, IMO. (nor does the cinnamon, also IMO - you're veering into cinncinati chili territory!)
I think you're right on with your assessment that you should add some chili powder. Also, I wouldn't have toasted the potato rolls. I think you need a nice soft roll to soak up the juices.
Next time, give it a shot of Worcestershire sauce--I always add to mine, as well as a little garlic...the sauce adds more depth to the flavor and additional savory accent.