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Monday, May 20, 2013

New Twist on a Classic: Recipe

Making changes to an old stand-by can run the risk of being too radical but if it's done right, it can be a smash. However, like everything else, "smash" is purely subjective. I saw a Ming Tsai recipe for "Asian Sloppy Joes" and I was quickly drawn in. I followed the basics but make significant enough changes that I'm confident this is my recipe, now...And, we all laughed when my oldest came out with the perfect name - The Sloppy Dog.

Ming's recipe called for only a pork and beef mixture - I added in veal. He suggested using celery, and red onions only - I used a red bell pepper, and half a red onion and half a yellow onion, instead. His recipe used far more heat than this one and instead of iceberg lettuce, I used arugula and added freshly cubed avocado. And for the kicker: hot dog rolls, instead of hamburger buns.  The kids got a kick out of it and the littlest one ate hers deconstructed - she consumed the sloppy dog mixture and the roll separately.  This was a great meal! The Ming Tsai Hoisin-Lime Sauce was really delicious and added that perfect tang to the meat. This is one we'll eat again and again!

Sloppy Dogs
makes 8-10

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1 lb. meat mixture: ground veal, ground beef and ground pork
1/2 lb. plum tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cup Hoisin-Lime Sauce* (recipe to follow)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
8-10 hot dog buns, top sliced
1 large ripe avocado
1 large handful fresh arugula, washed and dried

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, pepper and jalapeno and mix well - saute till soft, about 5-7 minutes. Next add in the tomatoes and saute again - another 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in the cilantro and the meats. Cook the meat till browned, break up large pieces with the back of a wooden spoon - about 6-7 minutes.  Add in the sauce and raise the heat to high - bring the mixture to a boil, stir often, and allow it to thicken so it is no longer soupy - about 20-25 minutes. Take off the heat.

Line the rolls with arugula, top with meat mixture and then sprinkle with avocado.

Ming Tsai's Hoisin-Lime Sauce
makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 cups hoisin sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan until hot; add in the ginger and the garlic and saute over medium-high heat for about one-two minutes. Add the hoisin sauce and stir about one minute.  Add in the mine juice, mix well, and allow to come together for about one more minute.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend, drizzling in the 1/2 cup of oil. Cool well before refrigerating (can be stored for up to two weeks).

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