Pressure-Cooker Sloppy Joes (for when you have no thyme)

By now you may, or may not, be back to school.  If you are, life has no doubt returned to a fever pitch, routines setting back in, rushed mornings, and the juggling act of work, school, added errands and after school activities.   Start off strong with a home made meal that makes your family happy that they’re back at the end of the day.

Sloppy Joes are a family favorite and they are just perfect for a busy day supper.  This recipe from Martha Stewart’s Pressure-Cooker cookbook takes the classic recipe and gives it a home-made, healthier spin.  Rather than using jarred sauce or dry packaged seasoning, this do it yourself recipe relies on real food ingredients and gets its sweetness from a bit of maple syrup.   Pressure cooking yields flavorful soft, crumbly meat that’s done in a lot less time.  Double it up and make enough to stash in your freezer, ready to go for a fast, easy meal when you are time crunched.  Transfer to a zip-top bag and be sure to label and date.  Freeze flat to save space and also to stay organized.  Once frozen, those flat bags can be “filed” standing up in a clear plastic, shoe box-sized container in your freezer so they’re easy to access later.

Martha’s recipe used a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal.  I used only the ground beef when I made this, but I think ground turkey would be great in this recipe.  If you go this route, I recommend using a light/dark ground turkey mix.  I also added some chopped green bell pepper to Martha’s recipe because I felt like the red pepper might not give it the right flavor on its own.  Full disclosure:  I left the thyme out, because I didn’t have any.

This recipe’s a keeper.  You can make it well ahead and reheat close to serving time, or you can  leave it till the last-minute, tossing everything into your pressure-cooker (or Multi-Cooker) and make dinner in a hurry.  Seahawks fans…  you can make this for game day.  Keep everything warm and ready in your Muilti-Cooker and let fans make their own, or, transfer the hot filling to a preheated, large thermos for your tailgate party.  Soccer moms, you can do this, too.  This is a great way to feed your family something home-made when you can’t be at home to eat it.  Now if you could just find that missing shin guard…

No Thyme Pressure-Cooker Sloppy Joes

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1  14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme (if you have any)
  • buns, for serving

Melt butter in a 6-8 quart stove top pressure-cooker over medium-high heat, or in an electric pressure cooker set to sauté.  Add ground beef or turkey, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until meat is browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 6 minutes.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 more minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chili powder and coriander and cook another 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant.  Stir in tomatoes, maple syrup, Worcestershire, tomato paste, bay leaves, and thyme.

Stove top:  Secure lid and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to maintain pressure and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, quickly release pressure, and remove lid.

Electric:  Secure lid and manually set cooker to 5 minutes.  Once time is complete, turn off, quickly release pressure, and remove lid.

To serve:  Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Divide meat among buns and serve.

– adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pressure-Cooker Sloppy Joe’s,  


Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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