Chef John's Turkey Sloppy Joes
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2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water, or as needed
6 hamburger buns, split
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until onion starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black.
2Mix ground turkey and 1/2 cup cold water into onions. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat, until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and cocoa powder. Cook, stirring frequently and adding up to 1 cup water if needed, until meat is cooked through and liquid is reduced and thick, 20 to 30 minutes.
3Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Toast hamburger buns until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
4Remove turkey mixture from the heat and mix in green onions and Cheddar cheese. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.