Char’s Summertime Joes

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SummertimeJoe

I’m sure you have favourite foods from your childhood that immediately trigger a memory.
Your mind whisks you back to a certain location and if you close your eyes and think really hard about it, you can probably still smell the aromas associated with it.  For our family, one of those foods is sloppy joes. Or, Summertime Joe, as Jason calls it. For some unknown reason I only ever cooked it in summer, and it eventually evolved into the traditional dinner whenever we were bringing in the hay bales from the field. If you’ve never done any “haying” or watched anyone toss those heavy bales on to wagons, let me emphasize what  a physically challenging job that is, and of course it’s always done on the hottest summer days after the hay has had a chance to dry. Our boys, and all the friends they could recruit, would come in off the fields hot, sweaty and covered in itchy straw and tiredly sink down into in a lawn chair, ready for a hearty meal. Served open faced over hamburger buns, covered in grated cheddar cheese and accompanied by juicy watermelon slices served in the big, green Tupperware bowl and Goodhost Iced tea poured out of the big, brown Tupperware jug, it was a meal that never failed to satisfy.
Yes, it had to be those exact dishes or it just wasn’t the same!
For hot summer hard working days, it’s Summertime Joes for lunch. You may eat it and wonder what all the hype is about, but for our family, it’s a special food memory I want to share with you all.

Ingredients

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
Chopped red or green pepper and/or grated carrot and/or diced celery
(optional, this is your chance to throw in a few extra veggies for good measure if you’d like)
1 tin tomato soup
1 tin pork and beans

1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard (this is the stuff you put on hot dogs.
Don’t try and get all fancy with the Grey Poupon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Sauté ground beef and veggies until no red remains in meat. Drain, if there’s lots of liquid. Add rest of ingredients and stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes or so to really allow all those gourmet flavours to develop! If you’re going to use a lot of veggies, it’s a good idea to sauté them separately so they’re nice and soft. There’s nothing worse than trying to sneak a bunch of veggies into a meal when the kids aren’t expecting them and then having them be too crunchy.
Serve over hamburger buns (I prefer mine toasted) and top with grated cheese and
red chili flakes if you like it spicy.