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Recipe: "Cutie Joes" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Recipe: "Cutie Joes"
The sandwich filling turned out great.


"Cutie Joes"

Ingredients:
1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes
2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
2 cups chopped celery
1 bell pepper
1 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ketchup
2 cups barbecue sauce
up to 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to rinse bottles
12 oz. tomato paste
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sweet marjoram
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon rose baises peppercorns crushed
1 teaspoon pink salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon allspice


Directions:

Fill two large pots with water. Set one of them to boil.

Wash the cherry tomatoes. If they are large, quarter them. If they are small, halve them. Put the cherry tomatoes into a large crockpot and turn it on Low.

Wash the celery ribs, cut off the ends, then slice into thin crescents. (If the bottom parts are really wide, cut stalk into thirds and split the lower thirds vertically before slicing.) Continue until you have 2 cups. Place in a medium bowl.

Remove seeds and ribs from half the bell pepper and dice it. Add to the bowl.

Peel and dice the onion. Add to the bowl.

Mince 4 cloves of garlic and add that to the vegetables. If you like, you can mince the cloves one at a time and intersperse them with preparing the other vegetables, but not everyone wants to switch back and forth. Mix up the vegetables and add them to the crockpot.

Wash the tomatoes. Core them and score the sides. When water reaches a rolling boil, add tomatoes 2-3 at a time. Wait 30-60 seconds until skins begin to wrinkle and peel. Transfer tomatoes to cold water. Remove and discard skins. Dice the peeled tomatoes. Add them to crock pot and stir.

Cook until the vegetables start to soften. Then add 2 cups ketchup, 2 cups barbecue sauce, 12 oz. tomato paste, and 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce. Stir thoroughly.

Give the sauce time to develop, about half an hour or so. Then brown 6 pounds ground beef and add it to the sauce. Stir thoroughly.

Let the filling cook for at least half an hour. Then add 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried sweet marjoram, 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil, 1 teaspoon rose baises peppercorns crushed, 1 teaspoon pink salt, 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.

Cook until the vegetables are tender and all the flavors are well blended. Taste the filling and adjust flavors if necessary. When done, allow to cool slightly and then serve on buns, or freeze it. My batch filled 6 small (probably 2 cup) and 3 large (1 quart, but filled a little shy of the rim) containers, plus we dished out some for supper before I bailed out the rest to freeze. So it made around 6 quarts of sandwich filling.

* * *

Notes:

The name comes from Cherry Tomato Sloppy Joes -> CT Joes -> Cutie Joes.

Cherry tomatoes come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Get a good mix. Ours had red, orange, yellow, and purple ones. This recipe may or may not be replicable with full-size tomatoes; I suspect that the complexity is due to the color variety but the sweetness is due to the cherry type itself. They held their shape and color excellently in the sauce, making it wonderfully chunky and diverse. Next time I will probably throw in two pints if I can afford it.

Beefsteak tomatoes are meaty rather than juicy. They stand up well when cooked, adding texture to the sauce.

Barbecue sauce comes in many flavors. We used an Original flavor with hickory smoke in it. I suggest staying away from a very sweet sauce such as Honey, Brown Sugar, or Molasses. What I really wanted was a fruit sauce like Apple Butter Barbecue, but I couldn't find that. I think fruit would blend very well with the sweet, complex flavor of the cherry tomatoes; but too much sugar would be overwhelming.

This recipe really needs a sweet onion, because a hot one would overpower it. Walla Walla, Vidalia, or Candy onions should work.

In theory, the recipe should use equal amounts of ketchup and barbecue sauce. In practice, I often use the whole bottle of barbecue sauce and fill in the remainder with ketchup. If you can't get the sauces out of their bottles, pour in a little apple cider vinegar and swirl it around to rinse out what's left, then pour it all into the crock.

The sweet marjoram and sweet basil are important. They help unify the sweet and leafy flavors.

Rose baises peppercorns have a sweet-hot flavor with pronounced fruity notes that are quite bold in this recipe. If you can't find these, substitute a multicolored peppercorn blend, which usually has some in it. Plain black pepper is likely to overwhelm this recipe, so if that's all you have, then add it in small amounts and taste to see how it works.

Pink salt comes from several locations, including the Himalayas and Australia. It has a subtle, complex flavor from included minerals. This really brings out the sweet and fruity notes in the recipe. If you can't find pink salt, use sea salt. Table salt has a stronger, flatter taste so if that's all you have, then add it in small amounts and taste to see how it works.

This recipe makes a very sweet, complex, chunky sauce. It's a great choice if you want to use tiny heirloom tomatoes.

We spent maybe $20 on ingredients for this recipe. It made about 6 quarts, or 24 cups. A serving is typically 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on what kind of bread you put it in and how hungry you are. So that's between 48 ($.42/each) and 96 ($.21/each) servings. Even adding a few hours of labor for two people, and bread to serve it on, that's pretty cheap.

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