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Sloppy Joes for grown-ups

October 29, 2008

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Serves 4
This quick paprikash with ground pork avoids the ketchupy quality of a cafeteria sloppy Joe. Use a bold Hungarian paprika, whether sweet, hot, or otherwise, not the flavorless stuff your mom sprinkled on deviled eggs.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tomato, cored and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken stock, or more to taste
4 kaiser or bulkie rolls
2 sour pickles, cut into thin spears
1. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 8 minutes or until it is browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan, leaving behind any juices.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the onion starts to color. Add the bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato, bay leaf, paprika, salt, black pepper, and stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and partially cover the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add more chicken stock if the mixture seems dry.

4. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Divide the Joe among the rolls and serve with pickle spears. John Burgess