Turkey Sloppy Joes With a Side of Sweet Potato Oven Fries

I did not grow up in a house that ever served sloppy joes – they were one of the foods my mother considered junk food, so she never made them. I do remember going to my grandmother’s house and getting to eat Manwich sloppy joes and drink cups of Sunny D and loving every bit of it… even though my mom pursed her lips when we asked for Sunny D because it wasn’t real juice.

Now, as an adult, there is a restaurant near my house that serves a lentil sloppy joe and big plates of delicious sweet potato fries, which was part of the inspiration for my Sunday night dinner this week. While scrolling through an extensive back log of recipes I haven’t tried yet, a lighter option for sloppy joe sandwiches sounded like just what I needed, and I knew that sweet potato fries had to be paired with it.

Although coordinating two untested recipes at the same time is often a good way for my kitchen to become a disaster, I actually found it very easy to make these together: I cut the potatoes and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge before making the sloppy joe meat, then as the sauce simmered, I finished making the fries. All the food was done at the same time and I felt like a genius.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes (sometime called Sloppy Janes) adapted from Oh, Sweet Basil

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Onion diced fine
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic minced
1 Pound Ground Turkey
1 Carrot grated
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Cup Tomato Sauce
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Buns for serving

1)Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once its hot, quickly add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent.
2)Add the peppers and garlic and stir occasionally for 1 minute then add the ground turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring it all together. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Add the carrots, mustard, worcestershire, chili powder, and paprika.
4) Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper.
5) Allow to cook for 5 minutes or up to an hour for better flavor. Season to taste and serve on whole wheat buns.

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Sweet Potato Oven Fries adapted from Gimme Some Oven

1 pound sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
Salt, to taste

1) Slice sweet potatoes into long, thin strips, about 1/4-inch wide.  It’s important that the fries are uniformly sized for even cooking.  Add the fries to a large bowl of cold water and soak for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight).
2) Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a large baking sheet (or two medium baking sheets) with parchment paper (or use a light amount of cooking spray.)  Set aside.
3) Drain the fries, rinse out and dry your bowl of water, then blot dry the fries with a clean towel.
4) Add the fries back to the clean bowl.  Then drizzle evenly with the olive oil, and toss until they are evenly coated.
5) In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, garlic powder, smoked paprika and black pepper until combined.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the bowl of fries, then toss until the fries are evenly coated and the cornstarch has soaked into the oil.
6) Spread the fries out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Be sure that the fries aren’t overlapping, or else they will not cook evenly.
7) Bake for 15 minutes.  Then remove pan from oven, and take the time to flip each fry with a spatula.  Rearrange so that the fries are evenly spaced and not overlapping again.  Then bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until the fries are crispy and have begun to brown a bit on the tips.
8) Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack, sprinkle with your desired amount of salt, then let the fries rest for 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

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