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Get Your Fill of Lamb with Lamb Sloppy Joes
Saturday, October 9, 2021


They were very sloppy and oh so tasty, thanks to a richness provided by smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, chili flakes and dark molasses.

They were the Lamb Sloppy Joes, which Sun Valley Culinary Institute’s new chef Geoff Felsenthal showed lamb enthusiasts how to make during one of six Trailing of the Sheep Cooking with Lamb classes this week.

Felsenthal demonstrated how to make the sloppy joes, along with a dish of Grilled Lamb with Soft Polenta, Mushrooms and Roasted Butternut Squash that boasted exquisitely creamy polenta flavored by a mix of butternut squash and mushrooms enhanced by fennel seed.

Felsenthal was able to get the meat for both from a single leg of lamb.

“The nice thing about a leg of lamb is that it is a very versatile cut,” he told those watching his demonstration in a historic grocery store on Ketchum’s Main Street.

Felsenthal told his guests that the industry usually uses a blend of 80 percent vegetable oil and 20 percent olive oil when cooking. Also, that he doesn’t like to put a lot of ingredients in his recipes—“it costs more and takes more time. I do like to create recipes that are technically above people’s skill level.”

Felsenthal showed the group how to listen for the sizzle as they put their ground lamb in a skillet. If the pot isn’t hot enough, the meat will sweat and there’ll be too much liquid, he said.

When cooking meat, the firmer it is to the touch the more done it is, he added.

“Mom always said, ‘Don’t play with your food.’ Play with your food. That’s how you tell if something is rare, medium rare…” he said.

Felsenthal served up the sloppy joes in potato buns with a slice of cheese melted on top. He accompanied the sandwiches with thin, flavorful chips he’d made using a mandolin slicer.

“I see a lot of lamb parties coming,” said Patty Lockhart as she savored the sloppy joe. “This is an old comfort food presented in a new way.”

“The flavors are marvelous,” added her husband Chuck Lockhart.


Olive oil as needed

1 pound ground lamb

½ cup medium diced onion

½ cup medium diced green pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Pinch of chili flakes

½- ¾ cup chicken stock

1 cup tomato puree

¼ cup ketchup

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon dark molasses

Coat the bottom of a medium-sized pot with oil and brown the lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until lamb loses its color. Remove lamb from the pot, leaving some of the fat in the pan.

Add onion, garlic and green pepper and cook until soft. Add spices and cook until fragrant. Add stock, puree, ketchup, mustard and molasses. Cook over medium heat while stirring for 30 minutes or until it has thickened.

To serve, toast the buns, place a slice of cheese on the outside of the top bun and melt. Spoon sloppy joe mixture on the bottom bun, place the cheesy bun on top and top still further with a kosher pickle.

Serves four.

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