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Sloppy Alfas

April 15, 2009
tags: , ,

Now, Mr. Alfa might argue that this name could apply to anything I cook, because in his mind, I’m a sloppy cook. I prefer to think of myself as exuberant.

In any case, if you’re looking for something to do with a package of ground whatever (beef, turkey, chicken,  soy crumbles — it all works), and you’re not inclined to use a mix or can of lord knows what, then keep on reading.

As with most of my recipes, this one is almost infinitely adjustable. You can make it spicier (Mr. Alfa’s a tad wussy about hot food), blander, thicker, thinner. If you have picky eaters in the house, leave out the mushrooms. Add some roasted corn or black beans, if you want more bulk.

We tend to eat these the first night as sandwiches (kaiser rolls or another hearty roll works best), then use the leftovers over baked or mashed potatoes, as the filling for a burrito, or even on nachos. You’ll easily get 6 servings out of this one.

Sloppy Alfas

1 lb ground meat (I like super lean beef best)

1 lg. green pepper, diced

1 lg. yellow onion, diced fine

8 oz sliced mushrooms (white or Baby Bellas work great)

1 clove garlic, minced

10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis

6 oz can tomato paste

1 tbsp grainy mustard (dijon, regular, jalapeno mustard — whatever you have)

1/2 bottle of good beer (use pissy beer if you like; you’re the one drinking the other half)

1-1 1/2 tbsps chili powder (I used a mix of ancho and chipotle, so it had flavor but not a lot of heat)

2 tsps cumin

2 tsps cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsps cocoa powder

1 tsp smoked paprika (if you use more chipotle powder, you can omit this)

Salt & pepper to taste


1. Coat bottom of large skillet in a thin film of olive oil. Throw in all the veggies, and saute over medium heat until the mushrooms give up their liquid and the onions are soft.

2. Remove veggies from pan, and set aside.

3. Add meat to the skillet and brown over high heat.

4. If you used a fatty ground beef, remove the cooked meat from the skillet and drain off the fat.  If you used super lean beef or ground poultry, skip this step. You may have some juice in the pan, but that’s OK.

5. Lower heat to medium to medium-low. Add the veggies and meat back in. Add the half bottle of beer, saving the rest to drink while you cook. Then add the tomatoes and paste. Stir to combine thoroughly.

6. Add all the spices and stir thoroughly.

7. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens and color darkens. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

8. Serve on a roll, over potatoes, or just slap it on a plate.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. E11even permalink
    April 15, 2009 4:10 pm

    this looks great. I may have to make them instead of the stuffed peppers I have planned for my ground beef….

  2. April 15, 2009 8:05 pm

    I just bought ground beef so I can make these this weekend. Thanks!

  3. April 17, 2009 1:50 pm

    Do not laugh at me but I wonder if this would work with Morningstar crumbles? I mean, obviously not as awesome but maybe still good?

    • alfagee permalink*
      April 17, 2009 2:11 pm

      I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Try it and report back.

      • April 19, 2009 6:42 pm

        OK, my review:

        Awesome! Even with Morningstar crumbles.

        Two things, one just me:

        1. When does the mustard get added in? Is it considered a spice? I added in after the tomato sauces.

        2. It was a bit too spicy for me… OK, way too spicy for me. I did a bit more than 1 T. of mixed chipotle and ancho but will do less next time. So for anyone who has wussy taste buds like mine, less is more.

        And now, the result:

  4. alfagee permalink*
    April 19, 2009 9:20 pm

    Sorry it was too spicy for ya, Bec. Spiciness is such a relative thing, and so much a function of the particular chili powder you’re using.

    The mustard goes in with the tomato products. Sorry I wasn’t more clear on that.

    And thanks for sharing the picture. Love it.

  5. E11even permalink
    September 9, 2009 9:27 pm

    here is my review after tasting a mouthful to see if spices need to be adjusted:



    mmmm. spicy.

    TEV likes it too.

  6. Barbara permalink
    February 12, 2012 8:22 pm

    Wonderful. Definitely a keeper. I didn’t have mushrooms but a freezer full of beans so used some of those. Very different flavor from my typical Tex-Mex style sloppy Joes and Chili–more of what I consider Caribbean flavors. Really, excellent.

  7. Barbara permalink
    March 8, 2012 8:56 pm

    Update. I portioned out what wasn’t eaten on 2/12 and put in freezer for lunches. The flavor mellowed and was even more wonderful. It was so good served on toasted whole grain sandwich thins open-faced style. I am making it again tomorrow and this time will definitely use mushrooms. It is now one of my favorite quick & easy lunches. Thank you for a great recipe.

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