Cooking Contests

Sweet Heat Cape Cod Sloppy Joes


Cranberries are known for their pucker-producing tartness.   To tame down the tart, cranberries are typically bathed in a generous dose of sugar.  As a result, nearly any recipe search you conduct for cranberries will yield a whole host of baked goods such as scones, pies, breads, muffins, and the like.  Not that there is anything wrong with these sweet treats, but today I want you to think outside of the sweet-tooth box.

Cranberries can certainly lend their tartness to savory dishes.  Case in point is my recipe for Sweet Heat Cape Cod Sloppy Joes.  The base for these delicious Sloppy Joes is a homemade sauce that features two full cups of cranberries.  Combined with a handful of other familiar ingredients, the tartness is tamed but still noticeable in every bite.

These Sloppy Joes are super simple to make and come together in under thirty minutes.   Perfect for dinner, a weekend lunch with the family, or down-sized to sliders for your game day spread, these Joes will be sure to please.


The recipe that follows is my second entry in the Cape Cod Select Blogger Challenge.  Be sure to check out Cape Cod Select for yourself on their websiteFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   Cape Cod Select offers fresh cranberries for sale from October – December, as well as frozen cranberries all year round.    Browse their online store for delivery right to your front door.    Or, using the Cape Cod Select Store Locator,  discover local stores that carry their frozen cranberries.


Oh, and if you do have a hankering for a sweet treat, check out yesterday’s post for Two Bite Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Cups.

Sweet Heat Cape Cod Sloppy Joes
makes 6 sandwiches

2 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries
1 & 1/2 cups good quality, jarred tomato sauce (I use a sauteed onion & garlic variety)
1/3 cup prepared chili sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1-2 tablespoons Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2/3 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 & 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

2 cups very thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 cup, packed, roughly chopped kale leaves (stems discarded)
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 buns (burger, Italian, kaiser, egg-twist)

In a pot whisk together the jarred tomato sauce, chili sauce, molasses, sweet Thai chili sauce*, brown sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined.  Add in the cranberries.  Stir. *Using 1 tablespoon of the sweet Thai chili sauce will produce a very mild heat.  For a sauce with a bit more kick, opt for 2 tablespoons.

Cover the pot and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes.  Once the cranberries begin to thaw and break open, remove the lid.  Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, breaking apart the cranberries with a wooden spoon while cooking.  Once the cranberries have broken down, place the sauce into a blender fitted with a top vent.  Beginning on low speed, mix together.  Slowly increase speed to puree.  Puree for 30 seconds or until the sauce is smooth and free of lumps.    Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the diced onion and olive oil into a skillet.  Saute for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are fragrant and translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Place the ground beef into the skillet and cook over medium heat.  During the cooking process break apart the meat into small crumbles with a spatula.  Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.  Drain the meat to remove any liquid and fat.  Return the meat to the skillet.  Pour the reserved sauce into the skillet.  Stir together and heat through for 3-4 minutes.

For the slaw, very thinly slice enough Napa cabbage for 2 packed cups.  Discard any thick pieces of cabbage.  Combine with the chopped kale leaves, grated carrot, and sliced scallions.  Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sweet Thai chili sauce, and salt until emulsified.  Add to the slaw and massage into the mixture.  Set aside.

Assemble your sloppy joes by placing 1/3-1/2 cup of the slaw onto the bottom bun.  Top with a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture.  Serve immediately with plenty of napkins!



5 thoughts on “Sweet Heat Cape Cod Sloppy Joes

  1. Pingback: Cranberry Lemon Lime Spritzer | Life in the Van

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