Sloppy Joes à la Française

I'm not supposed to be doing this.  I have a final exam tomorrow at 9:30 AM, but of course the only thing I could keep my mind on tonight was food, and as soon as I put the first bite of this sloppy sandwich in my mouth I knew I would have to write about it immediately. 
First, some essential things I feel obligated to tell you about this dish:  I could only find ground beef that came packaged, and which therefore provided with more than was necessary for one person.  No matter, I am confident this will taste equally good tomorrow when I toss it with pasta for dinner, and if you make this I encourage you to do the same, or to eat it as is with some vegetables or potatoes on the side.  This dish will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge so you can save it for a lunch or dinner not so far away.

Additionally, I apologize because the ingredient list is longer than I would like, but I really feel that all of the flavors are necessary and make this meal so complex and complete; besides, aside from chopping the onion, garlic, and anchovy fillet, everything else you can just toss right into in the pan. So please enjoy this - I'm still jumping in my seat a little about how fantastically this came out.  Bon appetit and happy eating.

Sloppy Joes à la Française - makes 2 servings

10-12 ounces lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 large garlic clove, chopped
a pinch each of cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, and paprika
1/2-cup beef broth
1 1/2-tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving

1.  Sprinkle ground beef with a dash of pepper and a generous pinch of salt; mash with a fork to mix together.
2.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, thyme spring, and bay leaf, and cook until onion is slightly softened, about 4 minutes.
3.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
4.  Add the spices, and sautee for 30 seconds to combine.
5.  Reduce heat slightly; add the beef with an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, stirring gently once every so often with a wooden spoon to break apart beef strands, about 8-10 minutes.
6.  Add tomato paste, beef broth, vinegar, and anchovy; simmer until reduced to a thick sauce, about 5-7 minutes.  Season to taste with additional cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, or paprika as desired.
7. Discard thyme sprig and bay leaf; add parmesan into sauce and stir until combined.  Serve on a french baguette, with additional grated parmesan. 


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