The grinder is a specialty served at the Iowa State Fair, home to some of the nation’s richest and most waist-expanding treats. Still a hefty meal-in-one, this rendition takes a lighter approach. We cut the size in half (always a good place to start) and substituted fresh mushrooms for some of the fatty meat.
Place mushrooms in a food processor, and pulse until finely ground. Reserve.
Heat canola oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sirloin and sausage. Cook until golden brown, breaking up meat with a spoon, about 5 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add onion to pan and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add mushrooms and red pepper, if desired, to the pan, and mix well. Cook until mushrooms are darker in color, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add pasta sauce; stir to blend. Return cooked sirloin mixture to pan; bring sauce to a simmer and cook 2 minutes.
Divide mixture among buns and top with mozzarella cheese. Broil in oven or toaster oven until cheese melts. Serve warm.
This turned out just OK. The flavor just isn't there--even tho I used regular sausage and pasta sauce. You'd think the extra fat and salt would have improved things! I didn't change anything else except to use white mushrooms instead of cremini. My store had ground Angus 90% lean beef on sale so I used that for the beef half. I doubled the recipe (unfortunately) because the stores in my area, at least, don't sell ground beef or sausage by the half pound unless you order it at the counter and pay $$$. I won't make this again.
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