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I don’t eat beef for religious reasons. It’s also pretty hazardous on the skin as, being ‘heaty’ it causes acne and pimples. I’ve stayed away from beef even as a kid. But I cannot ignore the fact that beef is universally enjoyed and the aroma of it even in student kitchens was mouthwatering. Admittedly, it was very difficult for me in the UK especially back in boarding school (Concord college) where they would have 4-5 choices of mains and most of them would be something beef. Beef stew, fried beef slices, beef lasagna, roast beef and the list goes on. The only choice I could go for is the only non-beef main that’s always prevalent… the vegetarian choice. Vegetarian lasagna anyone? I love my meat so the vegetarian option always leaves me craving for something juicy and meaty. The closest substitute I have to beef is lamb, which shares almost the same bloody, red and juicy meat tendencies as beef.

This is a dish I dreamt up after watching yet another beef-related cooking show on food network and Asian food channel. Sort of a Greek play on Sloppy Joe with the thick creamy greek yoghurt and lamb and mint. And it is so rich and gamey, with some arugula and mango to lighten up on the richness and provide some texture to the sandwich. Perfect snack or a light meal to quench my meat cravings. Lamb chops are even better but I’ll save that for another time.

This sloppy joe may not look pretty but aren’t the ugliest dishes sometimes the yummiest?

I’ve adapted this from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/sloppy_joes

Greek sloppy joe ingredients: Green yoghurt, pita bread, tomato sauce, worchestire sauce, mango, lamb mince, mint, arugula

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion chopped
  3. Optional: 1 medium carrot chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. Salt
  6. 500g ground lamb, marinated with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper
  7. 2 squirts of tomato ketchup
  8. 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  9. 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  10. 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  11. 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  12. 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  13. Black pepper
  14. 4-6 pita breads
  15. Mango, thinly sliced
  16. 1/2 tbsp of greek yoghurt per pita bread
  17. Thinly sliced mint leaves (1 mint leaf per pita)
  18. A handful of arugula, washed and lightly dressed in the creamy Japanese sesame salad dressing you can find in most supermarkets.

Cooked lamb mince

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add the carrots (if you’re using them) for about 5 minutes before adding the chopped onion.
  3. Cook, stirring every now and then until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Using the same pan, heat the pan on high. Crumble the ground lamb into the pan and ensure that you do not overcrowd the pan. Do this in two batches if need be.
  6. Do not stir the lamb mince, just let it cook until it is well browned on one side. Then flip the pieces over and brown the second side.
  7. Return the vegetables to the lamb mince in the pan, add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, rosemary and brown sugar to the pan and mix well.
  8. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  9. Lightly toast your pita bread so that it’s a light golden on the outside (you can do this in a frying pan) and cut it three quarters of the way through to form a “pocket”.
  10. Spreads the greek yoghurt on the insides of the pita bread, spoon some of the lamb mixture topped with mint into it along with a slice or two of mango and some arugula leaves.