Monday, November 7, 2011

Cheeseburger Pie and Going Back to your Roots.

Like that classy paper plate, huh? i thought so. Well I don't have a lot of time lately between work and my new (old) hobby horseback riding. I grew up riding horses. It was the reason I got up in the morning until I discovered boys... and fashion. Long story short, I got a horse in college from country star Clay Walker. It's not as fancy as it sounds. She wasn't pricey and was what they call a 'short sale' because Clay's (ex) wife despised the woman she bought her from and wanted to get rid of her quickly out of spite. Anyhow the horse - Barbie - had to stay behind in TX when I got my first advertising job in San Francisco.

We wouldn't reunite for almost 4 years when Kris and I moved to Minnesota for another advertising job where I could finally afford to board her. There was only one problem. In those 4 years Barbie had gone completely lame (if your daughter or son ever wants a horse - God help you.) I tried corrective shoes, chiropractics, what have you which got us by for a year or so before it was clear she would never really be ridable again. So finally I did what any self respecting animal lover would do and shot her.

Just kidding. I bred her so she could at least do something she'd always wanted to do (seriously - she's the only mare I've ever known to actually cry every time she sees a colt.) So Barbie had a little girl - Dolly (named after Dolly Parton as she too is a palomino. All my creativity goes out the window when it comes to naming horses.)

So no sooner is Dolly born than we get another job in NYC. Us ad folk aren't known for our loyalty... Anyhow the girls had to stay behind until I could ferret out an affordable place to board them in New Jersey. Dolly grew up there, finally started training, and then Kris and I decided to risk our entire future and move back home to Texas.

Once again the girls went for a long car ride. So now that we were back where we started I had a lame mama horse (pasture ornament) and her half broke yet well travelled daughter. It took another year - just this past vacation break - for me to have the time to really work with my wonderful trainer and Dolly to figure out what the hell I was doing (still working on it, with the black and blue thighs to prove it.)

And it sounds so completely stupid, but now that I'm back in the saddle again - finally - I've never been happier. If you're not doing what you loved doing when you were 8 years old then you should stop reading right this second and go take it up again. And (clunky segue) here - the same logic applies when it comes to recipes. As fancy or exotic as my tastes may get in my old age, it's always the old school, basic recipes that really curl my toes.

Take Cheeseburger Pie which is just as it sounds. A layer of ground beef topped with tomatoes topped with a cheddar and bisquick mixture that some how forms a crust that brings it all together. The shallots, green onions, and spices are all optional. Just don't forget the salt and pepper or it'll be the great disappointment pie.

Cheeseburger Pie
Feeds 6-8, depending on side dishes.

teaspoon oil
½ cup chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch kosher salt
1 pound ground beef
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon chili powder
pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
½ teaspoon worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, or as much as you like
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (low fat is fine just don't use skim)
3/4 cup biscuit baking mix (Bisquick, y'all)

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large deep dish pie plate with nonstick spray and set aside.

Add the oil to a nonstick skillet and put over medium heat. Let heat through for 1 minute then add the shallots and garlic, seasoning with a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until beginning to turn translucent then add the beef, breaking up with your wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the meat has browned. Drain the beef mixture in a colander, return the beef/shallot/garlic mixture to the pan and stir in the green onions, dried mustard, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and chili powder (and more pepper if desired.)

Once combined, transfer the beef mixture to the sprayed pie plate, pressing down to spread evenly. Press into an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Meanwhile combine the drained tomatoes with the worchestershire, ketcup and salt (I do it right in the tomato can.) Pour the mixture over the beef, distributing evenly.

Spread the shredded cheese evenly over the tomatoes. Then in a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, biscuit mix and a pinch of salt just until combined. Pour over cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F in the center of the oven for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let rest/set up for 10 minutes, uncovered, before serving. Serve with a salad for a whole meal.


Jenn said...

LOVE cheeseburger pie.. it reminds me of my childhood too!
And I'm so happy you are back to riding horses!! I know how much that means to you!

StephenC said...

Is this a retro recipe. I ask because I'm writing a cookbook called "Back in the Day." Write me at if you can.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Thanks Jenn!

Stephen - I'm sure it's based on a retro recipe as I have changed it many times over the years to where it is now and couldn't even tell you where the original came from. But based on the fact that it uses good old ground beef and biscuit mix - retro is a good bet!