There’s no food that reminds me of my high school cafeteria more than Sloppy Joes. There were many good options that the lunchroom cycled through, but Sloppy Joe day was something that I looked forward to, because of the particular sweet-savory-meaty combination of the sandwich, and because it’s one of those sandwiches that is hard to be polite while you’re eating it. You just have to go for it. 

These days, I don’t have that many Sloppy Joes in my life—when I get a craving for a meaty sandwich, i usually pick up a Chopped Cheese from my favorite bodega. But it’s something that would be an easy addition to your weekly menu rotation, and you can do a lot more with it than my high school cafeteria ever could. For one, this recipe calls for fresh chopped bell pepper and onion, and for another, there’s a small amount of red wine that gives an extra depth of flavor to the sandwich. 

In terms of technique, there’s not too much here that’s complicated. You’ll want to brown the ground beef before stirring in the rest of the ingredients, which means having a little bit of patience. Leave it on the pan until the outsides are crispy and brown, and then break it up with a spatula or wooden spoon to get the rest of the meat cooked. Then add in your vegetables and cook until they’re softened before adding in the wine, Worchestershire sauce, and other seasonings. When you’re done, pile it on a toasted hamburger bun and admire how far a lunchroom staple can really come. 

Get the recipe for Homemade Sloppy Joes.

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