Sloppy Turkey Joes

Another kid-friendly dish with grown-up appeal.

Recently I’ve been recreating some of the foods I enjoyed as a kid, adapting them to suit my grown-up tastes.  This week’s target—Sloppy Joes. If my mother had served a can of Manwich to me seven days a week for an entire year I would not have been happier. Ground hamburger soaked in a tangy, tomato sauce served on a bun with a name that actually encourages spills and messes? I’ll have a plateful of that, please and thank you.

Today, my sloppy joes are made with ground turkey that simmers in a homemade tomato-based sauce seasoned with chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. These are some of my favorite flavors and they yield a bold, spicy (not spicy hot) sauce that’ll make you want to lick your plate clean.

Here are a few tips to help you as you make your own Sloppy Turkey Joes. Ground turkey is sometimes sold in prepackaged 1 ¼ to 1 1/3 pounds. No idea why, but a little extra ground turkey won’t hurt. The sauce is not spicy hot, yet the chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and other spices can be a bit much for tiny diners. You can adjust the spice levels to suit your family. Be careful with salt in this recipe. The Worcestershire sauce has a relatively high salt content, so make sure you taste as you season so you won’t over do it.

Sloppy Turkey Joes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 cup finely-diced carrots

1 – 1½ pounds of ground turkey

½ tablespoon chili powder

½ tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

4 hamburger buns

Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces, until the turkey is cooked through and no pink remains.

Stir together the chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce in a medium bowl. Pour the sauce over the cooked turkey and stir until well-mixed. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over hamburger buns and serve.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves four. 


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