{dark days} Week 14: MANwich

Editor’s Note: We are taking a break from our St. Patrick’s Day theme week for our Dark Days Challenge entry. This is the 14th week of a 4 1/2 month challenge, Dark Days, a pledge taken by 88 blogs spanning the country, to eat one meal a week as sustainable, organic, local and ethical possible. Honestly, these challenges are becoming harder & harder to pull off as we all get closer to finishing off the last of our summer 2010 canned goods, frozen fruits and veggies. I’m up! – Christina

I will admit it. I’ve been craving a “Manwich”.

I remember enjoying my mother’s “Manwich” meals as my tomboy-self during the elementary and middle school years. I also remember liverwurst sandwiches with ketchup. Loved them both; haven’t had either since those years. A left time ago.

“Manwich”* is a processed “sloppy joe” sauce-in-a-can, “full serving of vegetables”, where you add ground beef and heat. I vaguely remember how the ‘tang’ of high acid content really pleased my palette. For a few weeks, I’ve been craving that vinegar/ketchup sauce in meat on a bun….yummm. Weirdly, I’ve only attempted to make a pulled pork or sloppy joe sandwich only once or twice- was I missing out? Yes. The time is now.

The time is now because:

a) I’m getting bored with roasted and braised meals and soups…..our {extremely harsh} winter seems to be lasting forever. I believe we’ve only had a handful of days above FREEZING since January 1st.

b) I realized that I had most of the ingredients, including locally made allergy-free & GF rolls to make it a {dark days} post! SCORE! (And may I just say “Phew” because as Amanda stated in last week’s challenge post, it’s getting harder and harder to fulfill the challenge as my larder is getting smaller and smaller…see above…including my localish olive oil from Dancing Ewe Farm…I’m out! I should be getting my CSA share any day now!)

c) I get to use something from my 1st summer of canning/preserving. My 2010 roasted pepper & tomato ketchup from my canning bible; Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton. I should also note I used my last quart of canned tomatoes for this recipe. (panic has set in folks)

and finally,
d) because my son, Miles, has the same palette as I do. He will eat anything that has any amount of vinegar in it. Dilly carrots, beets, shallots (seriously), a splash in a tomato soup…whatever. So I knew this would be a hit with my boys.

Now, onto the recipe. I made it up by combining flavors and textures in both a pulled pork type sandwich AND a sloppy joe. The texture of the dish is pulled-pork style all the way, I did not use ground beef. I purchased a half pound of “stew meat” from Brookside Farm and allowed the meat to stew in the sauce in the crockpot for a half until it was pull-apart tender. I made my own spin on the recipe but I used Simply Recipes’ pulled pork AND sloppy joe recipes as a starting off point so mucho credit to that wonderful blog! Please note, this recipe ONLY makes about 4-5 sandwiches.

Into the Crockpot:
1/2 – 3/4 pound of stew meat (Brookside Farm)
2 small-medium onions, medium dice (Kilpatrick Family Farm)
1/2 cup of FINELY grated carrots (Kilpatrick Family Farm)
1/2 cup roasted pepper ketchup, but any ketchup you have will work. (originally the produce was from Denison Farm CSA)
1 quart canned tomatoes, or 1 28oz. can of chopped tomatoes AND its juices (I used my last quart of tomatoes I canned myself-see our header for a picture of the beauties – again Denison Farm CSA)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs molasses (NOT NOT NOT LOCAL- exception)
1 Tbs Maple Syrup  (very local- Dianna & Michael’s 2010 Maple Syrup)
salt- how much? I don’t remember, probably about 1 teaspoon. Remember your ketchup will have salt in it so don’t over do it.
A few grinds of fresh black pepper.
OPTIONAL: 1 Tbs mustard and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Cook on HIGH for “about” 3 hours (crockpot times can vary). Around that time, take off the lid and cook for another hour or two until the liquid as evaporated out and you have a thick & sticky meaty goodness as you see below. Done!

I served this on Saratoga Gluten-Free Good’s Multigrain Rolls** (a company I plan to interview in the future). Which as I stated in my first dark days post, as an allergen-free & gluten-free household it was going to be hard to accomplish the “local” component when it comes to flours as I couldn’t use wheat and now corn. So this is the best I can do, which to me, is good enough.

On the side is Kilpatrick Family Farm’s newest family of microgreens. (I am TOTALLY obsessed!) I believe the version below is arugula – peppery and delicate! On top of the microgreens is another 2010 canning product, Curried Cauliflower.

It was a vinegar party on my plate. Miles ate his sandwich cut in fourth’s… he loved saying” sloooooopeeee joe”. He wasn’t thrilled with my cauliflower but loves the microgreens, which is great because as a 2-year-old he gags at the texture of leafy greens, so instead he finished off our jar of one of Sarah’s 2010 canning products, Dilly Carrots. Thank you Sarah!

Chuck ate his sandwich with a grocery store brand “veggie chips”; not local, not sustainable, not anything special but allergy-free is something right?!


* Don’t get me started on the actually name of this product “MAN”wich. Why the gender-specific name? Is ground beef  with a vinegar/ketchup based sauce particularly manly?

* *Attention local readers: You can buy Saratoga Gluten Free Goods at various smaller grocery stores in our area including: Four Seasons, Wild Thyme and Green Grocer.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexis says:

    I’m really impressed w your creativity on this one Chris! Also I am inspired to do some serious preserving this summer.

    1. Christina says:

      Thanks Alexis! I thought of the idea twice when I saw a manwich can at the store and then again when I went to Four Seasons to pick up the local bread, I saw the rolls and a light went off in my head. And yes to preserving, its what’s getting me through this looooooong winter.

  2. Hello there! Thank you for posting recipes with gluten-free options. I became gluten-free about 8 months ago and subscribed to your site a few weeks ago when I came across it. I have been following since then and one day realized that you all are in the Capital District! I grew up in Burnt Hills and have transplanted to Seattle! So very exciting. Not only do you have fabulously gluten-free offerings but you are also close to home so thus close to my heart. Thank you for your posts. Happy blogging!

  3. Celia says:

    Yum. We made sloppy joes with Manwich sauce for the fire department dinner a couple of months ago. Sometimes those flavors just can’t be beat. (Kinda grossed me out to be cooking it from a can, but it’s hard not to do some of that when you have to feed 80 people.)

    My kids are in love with all things pickled–especially dilled beans and cucumber pickles. This bodes well for what I will probably be calling “the year of pickling” for some time to come. 🙂

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