Sloppy Joes

Some foods are memory triggers, meals that send you back to long-forgotten moments in your life. The sloppy Joe sandwich is one such time machine.

This version is an adaptation of one developed by Chris Gesualdi, the chef at TriBakery in Manhattan. It’s a tribute to the one his mother, Rose, used to make for him as a child, and it is perfect: a sweet and spicy hill of thick sautéed ground beef spilling out of a toasted homemade kaiser roll. He tops his with melted cheddar, and that can’t be a bad thing. All in all, it is a terrific antidote to adulthood.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 ¾ cups tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pureed canned chipotle in adobo
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
  • 12 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

      359 calories; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 22 grams protein; 49 milligrams cholesterol; 638 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

12 servings


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil, and saute onions until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Add ground beef, and saute until well browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, tomato puree, chili powder, Tabasco, chipotle and bay leaf. Stir until blended. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to spread on a sandwich, about 45 minutes.
  3. To serve, heat a broiler. Slice the rolls open and place them under the broiler until lightly toasted, turning as necessary. Ladle about 1/2 cup onto the bottom of each roll, and top with cheddar cheese to taste. Return bottom halves to the broiler until cheese just melts. Top with the remaining halves, and serve immediately.

1 hour 20 minutes

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