I have some very lean ground pork on hand and was trying to think of something to use it in. I came up with a from-scratch Sloppy Joe-like recipe inside of the bun for easy eating. I do not use the mixes and most other recipes use commercial catsup and similar ingredients. ick. This will work using any ground meat. You can freeze them for those nights when you are not in the mood to make a full dinner.
1 lb lean ground pork
1 bell pepper*, seeded, membranes removed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint tomato sauce
*If one cannot digest bell peppers, yet want to keep the taste- slice bell pepper into quarters. You add them with the onions, cook the filling as normal. Remove peppers before filling the dough.
2-1/2 tsp yeast (1 pkg)
1/4 cup warm (110°F) water
3/4 + 1/8 cup warm (110°F) whole milk (1/8 cup is 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tbsp butter (or oil, if one insists)
3 cups flour
First, start the bread. It will rise while making and cooling the filling.
Mix together the yeast, warm water and sugar. Let proof for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to form the dough. Using as little flour as possible on the counter or a kneading board, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic- 5 minutes or so. You want the dough to not stick to your hands when you take a piece of it and touch it to your skin on the back of your hands. It may still seem sticky. This is a tender dough. Do not over-flour or the bun will be dry.
Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (My normal damp towel tends to stick to this dough.) Set aside to make the filling.
Cook the pork in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up into tiny bits as it cooks. When the meat barely has a blush of color and almost all white, add the onion and bell pepper. Turn down the heat a notch or two, cover the skillet and let the onion cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. This can take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your stove’s heat source. Your pork will be fully cooked by this time. If you use a higher fat pork, drain the fat before proceeding with the next steps.
Raise the flame back to medium heat and add the garlic, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and all of the seasonings. Blend well into the meat and onion mixture. Cook for a minute or two to meld the seasonings to the mixture. Add the tomato sauce, blend well. Lower the flame down to medium-low heat. Uncovered, cook for 10 to 15 minutes and let the mixture simmer to reduce the sauce down a bit. Once done, transfer to a glass bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to quickly cool the mixture. If it is hot, the dough tends to tear when filling the dough.
Making the filled buns:
I make “cuts” in the cooled meat mixture, dividing it into 8 portions for ease of filling amounts. I did not measure the filling first, normally eyeballing things as I cook. You could measure it and divide it evenly if you prefer.
Grease a large cookie sheet with butter or cover with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a ball of dough to a 6″ to 7″ circle. Place 1/8 of the filling in the center of the dough. With water, lightly dampen the edges of the dough. Either fold 2 sides of the dough to the center over the mixture, seal and then grab the opposing sides over and seal or make into half-circle pies, or… It is your choice. Place each on the baking sheet as you work.
Once done, you have two choices- let rise without covering and brushing on some melted butter before baking or lightly lay buttered or oiled plastic wrap over the buns. I prefer the former. Let the buns rise 20 minutes. 10 minutes in to letting the buns rise, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the buns for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Of course, if you have any leftover like we do, you can either refrigerate for the following day or freeze the leftovers. They are a great busy day meal.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place parchment paper on a cooking sheet. Cut the bun in half, or slice the top enough to let the heat reach the middle quickly. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. You could not cut them and cover with foil to reheat, too. It may take a little longer to heat clear through.
Loves and hugs…