Created by ForeverMama on January 6, 2015
Step 1: To start the sauce: Heat a 2 1/2-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the oil.
Step 2: When the oil is hot, stir in the onion, green and red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and simmer with the cover ajar for 1 hour.
Step 4: To sauté the mushrooms: Heat an 8 - 10 inch skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 5: To finish the sauce: After the sauce has simmered 1 hour, add the sautéed mushrooms, chopped plum tomatoes, oregano, “Better Than Bouillon” seasoning and some freshly ground black pepper. Return to a simmer and cook with the cover ajar for 30 minutes more. (Refer to Note below).
Step 6: To brown ground meat: Heat a 10-inch non-reactive deep-sided skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground meat and break it up with a wooden spatula. Cook the meat until separated and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Then remove from the stove and drain out any excess fat from skillet. Return skillet to the stove, over low heat. Stir in the sauce and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, uncovered. Cook gently until the flavors mingle and the mixture is piping hot throughout, about 10 minutes. Add some more freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
Step 7: To assemble Sloppy Joes and serve: While the sauce is simmering, open the hamburger buns and spread both opened sides lightly with butter. Lay the buns, buttered sides up, on a shallow baking sheet. Broil the buns until the buttered sides are nicely toasted. Spoon the ground beef mixture lavishly over buns and serve hot.
Step 8: NOTE: If serving for 8 [could serve 10 for skimpier sandwiches], you will need 2 cups of sauce and 2 lbs of ground beef. If serving 4, you will need 1 cup of sauce and 1 lb. of ground beef. The remaining sauce can be frozen for later use and ease. Freeze cooled sauce in tightly sealed containers.