Thursday, February 18, 2010

Persian Sloppy Joes

Persian Sloppy Joes

I am always amazed when people say they have never heard of Persian Sloppy Joes. I have been eating this meal my entire life; it was one of the staple dishes in my household. And let me tell you, between picky me and my picky brother, we didn't eat weird food. It was strictly a hamburgers, spaghetti, and fish sticks kind of house. So I grew up thinking Persian Sloppy Joes were just one of those normal things that people ate... until I realized that my family are apparently the only ones who make it.

But it's delicious! And when you make it and try it for the first time, you will wonder where this dish has been your whole life. It is super easy to make, and a great way to introduce some Middle Eastern flavors to kids -- because it's not in the least bit spicy, but it does taste a bit exotic. And you eat it with hummus, which is always a bonus.

1 lb ground beef
3/4 cup water
2 small beef bullion cubes
1 Tbsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, brown the ground beef; drain off any fat. Add water, bullion cubes, and spices, and smush up the bullion cubes with the back of a spoon. Stir well and simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or so, or until the liquid is absorbed. Serve in pita pockets with hummus.

And considering how easy that was, why not make your own pita? If you are an Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day kinda person, then you probably have dough in your fridge. If you do, then your task is ridiculously easy! Just preheat your oven with baking stone to 500 degrees, roll out your dough into small rounds 1/8 inch thick, and bake them directly on the baking stone for 5 to 7 minutes. (Seriously, I think it just took me longer to type that than it takes to do it. Okay, not quite, but close.)

Baking stone
It helps if your baking stone is really, really stained and ugly. It makes you look like a serious baker.

If you're not a ABin5 devotee, and you don't have dough in your fridge at all times, then I suppose you'd need to make dough, which might take a little longer. But it would still be worth it, because the deliciousness of fresh-baked pita bread cannot be beat! This recipe looks pretty easy, but you do have to wait for dough to rise and such. Yet another argument for always having dough in your fridge, but I'll step down off the soapbox now.

Homemade pita

In addition to hummus, which is the ideal condiment for Persian Sloppy Joes, I like to serve this meal with a simple cucumber salad. I love this recipe I found, in which you marinate the cucumbers in a sugary vinegar-water solution, along with white onion and dill. Yum!

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