Convention Sloppy Joes

It’s just a few short days til Convergence!

This is always an exciting time of year for us, but after the past 6-10 months we’ve had… we really need this. Time to just get away from everything and kick back with the local geek community in a BIG way. Also: We get to break out the Weeping Angel costumes again!

This year, with the convention bigger than ever, we decided to plan ahead with regards to food. In an effort to save both money and a parking spot (which will be hard to come by!), we’ve decided to make a big batch of Sloppy Joes to share with our roommates.

After much thought, we decided that this would be the perfect convention food. It’s cheap and easy to make, easy to serve, and tastes great. This version is loaded with protein and vegetables, two things that can be hard to come by – or skipped altogether – in the midst of convention festivities. It can be made ahead and frozen – not only saving time in the precious days leading up to the convention, but also to add as “ice” in the cooler. Also, leaving it to simmer all afternoon in a crock pot only enhances the flavor!

A few notes about this recipe:

– I created this recipe specifically to be made ahead and frozen, specifically for use in a slow cooker. See the end of the recipe for how to tweak this for immediate use – it would be great for a party!

– We did this based on what we had on hand, and it came out amazing. If you want to swap out types of pepper, add or subtract onion, etc… go nuts 🙂 It’s a very versatile recipe.

– Having a food processor comes in really, really handy for this recipe. You can totally chop everything by hand, but food processors make REALLY easy work of this recipe!

– This is suitable for a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. It’s inherently gluten free (Check your steak spice and Chorizo to be sure.. and use a GF bun!), dairy free, etc.

– Usually, you would serve Sloppy Joes on a toasted bun, and on a proper plate. In honour of Convergence – and for the sake of “Convention Food” authenticity – we have photographed this on an untoasted bun, and on a styrofoam plate 🙂

“Convention” (Make Ahead) Sloppy Joes
Makes ~24 cups of filling

1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
3 jalapenos, chopped (seeded if you choose)
4 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6-7 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tsp + salt
4 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground chorizo-type sausage
1 lbs ground pork
8 cups tomato / spaghetti sauce of choice
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup+ vinegar
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp steak spice

In a LARGE pot (You may want a stock pot for this!), combine all of the vegetables and 2 tsp of salt. Cook over high heat, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and most of the water has come out of them – it will look soupy.

Once you set the vegetables to cook, combine all three meats in another large pot / pan. Cook – stirring frequently and breaking up chunks – until browned and cooked through.

Strain meats off of any fat and drippings, and add to vegetables. Stir well to combine.

Add tomato/spaghetti sauce, garlic, vinegar, pepper and steak spice to the pot, stir well to fully combine. Bring just up to a simmer, then turn the heat off – mixture should be way more loose / wet than a standard Sloppy Joe filling, do not cook it down!

Taste mixture, adjust seasonings as desired. Feel free to add more vinegar if you want more of an acidic bite to it.

Cool to room temperature, transfer to freezer safe containers, and freeze until use.

To use:

– Thaw out (At a convention, place it in your bathroom sink in the morning when you’re done with it, fill with cool water)

– Around noon, transfer mixture to Crock Pot (doesn’t need to be fully thawed), heat on high for a few hours, stirring every hour or so (Good to coordinate this with roomies!)

– Once mixture cooks down to a nice thick consistency, turn heat down to low until serving. If mixture gets too thick, see if a vending machine has a bottle of V8, add a little to thin it out.

– Serve on buns.

For immediate, non-CrockPot use:

Rather than removing mixture from heat after seasoning, turn heat down to medium and simmer until sauce cooks down to a nice thick consistency. Serve over toasted buns.

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