♫Sloppy Joes, Slop-Sloppy Joes♫

An early twentieth century favorite, the sloppy joe has solidified itself as a household name and as a great go-to for busy families looking for a fast and filling meal. The sloppy joe, innately American, has undergone many a manner of incarnation. Asian, Greek (I’ve made ’em and they were wonderful!), Indian, and now even Cuban-style!

Grassfed ground beef was on sale a couple weeks ago and sometimes you just have to stock up when a good deal comes along. Since I had such a great wealth of beautiful ground beef in my freezer, I decided to make these Ropa Vieja Josés (Cuban Sloppy Joes) from Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook. This dish not only delivers on flavor, but heft as well! The link above doesn’t mention it; but recipe in the book calls for a side of mashed yucca, also known as cassava, (from scratch!) as well.

If you’re not quite sure about yucca, or don’t have the time to hunt it down at the market (it’s fairly easy to find around here), you can easily sub mashed potatoes in its place. Yucca is a root vegetable with a creamy texture akin to potatoes, yet distinctly its own. The flavor is mild, a bit sweet, and a touch earthy/nutty.

Known as the national dish of Cuba, Ropa Vieja (translated “old clothes”) is typically a shredded beef dish served with vegetables (and likely black beans). This recipe takes the same flavors and applies them to ground beef on a big, squishy bolero roll. Sliced tomatoes and plantain chips drizzled in a potent “mojo” sauce (be sure whoever you’re cooking this for is eating the sauce too — it’s THAT potent). If you’re up to it, you could make your own plantain chips; but there’s no shame in buying a bag of them as well. Similar to banana chips, plantain chips are a less sweet cousin and every bit as tasty!

The filling for these joes was one we kept going back to for more — until it was gone! The Mr wasn’t crazy about the yucca, but I didn’t mind it one bit. And that mojo sauce? Well, you can bet I’m making that again! I found it to be an amazing dip for the plantain chips! What are some of your favorite takes on sloppy joes? Or are you a traditional Manwhich-ist?

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