Taking the idea of a sloppy joe, giving it a Greek flavor palette, and making it a little healthier in the process by replacing half the meat with finely chopped mushrooms, I created this fun recipe. Serve this on nice sourdough buns with a salad on the side, and sip a Greek beer to wash it all down.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 large onion very finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ pound (340 g) lean ground beef
- 1 pound (450 g) button mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Scant 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry red wine
- Scant 1 teaspoon brown sugar or 2 tablespoons petimezi (grape molasses)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
- 6 (4- to 5-inch / 10 to 12 cm) pieces regular or sourdough baguette, split lengthwise or 6 buns
In a large deep skillet or wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes to soften. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, until golden. Stir in the garlic.
Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir well to combine.
Add the tomato paste and stir to distribute evenly. Add the cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaves. Pour in the wine, add the sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the mixture is dense and almost dry and the meat is thoroughly cooked, 45 to 50 minutes. The mixture should be moist but not runny, so simmer until all the liquid has cooked off and the mixture holds its shape when scooped with a spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper and stir in the oregano.
Lightly toast the baguette pieces or buns. Spoon the meat mixture onto the bottom half of or 6 buns