Classic Sloppy Joes for Two
- 1 tablespoon water divided
- ¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon baking soda divided
- 8 ounces 85 percent lean ground beef
- ¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon table salt divided
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar plus extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar plus extra for seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 hamburger buns
- Combine 1½ teaspoons water and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in small bowl. In large bowl, toss beef with baking soda mixture and ¼ teaspoon salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and remaining ⅛ teaspoon baking soda and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar, paprika, pepper flakes, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until paprika is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is rust-colored, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Mash beef with potato masher until fine-textured, about 1 minute. Add ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits.
- Combine cornstarch and remaining 1½ teaspoons water in small bowl, then pour cornstarch mixture over beef and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and coats beef, about 1 minute. Season with salt, extra sugar, and extra vinegar to taste. Spoon beef mixture onto buns and serve.