Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Horsehoes - Another Midwestern Icon

Not long ago, I posted a recipe for Rattlesnake and made a comment about other Midwestern regional fare....like the horseshoe. Well, I've had a couple of questions about what a horseshoe is, and so last night the hubs and I made horseshoes for supper, just for little ol' you.
Now, I had never heard of a horseshoe (in the culinary sense) before moving to Illinois, so don't be surprised if this is new information for you as well. Traditionally, a horseshoe is two hamburger patties, each on a piece of toasted bread, then topped with french fries, and the whole lot of it drenched in cheese sauce (and no, I do NOT mean Velveeta, so put down that yellow box! Yes, I see you...put it DOWN.) Now, when you see it in print like this, but that sounds like a pretty good meal. What you don't realize is that there is generally enough food on that one plate to feed your entire family. Hence, the "pony shoe" was created, which is a half order of the same.
I said that was the traditional version. There have been many recreations of the original, my favorite of which is the "buffalo chicken shoe". This consists of buffalo chicken strips on the aforementioned toast (and its better if it is Texas toast. Regular bread just disappears in the cheese.) then topped with fries and a white cheddar sauce. Yum!!! There are also "shrimp shoes", "ham shoes", and another wonderful creation, the "breakfast shoe"; this one being an english muffin, topped with sausage patties, and egg (cooked to your taste) then hash browns, smothered in sausage gravy. That one, by far, is my husband's favorite. I'll have to make those for breakfast this weekend - they are sounding really good all of a sudden!
Basically, you can make a "shoe" out of anything. As long as it is smothered in cheese sauce. And, invariably, there is a great deal of controversy over which restaurant serves the best "shoe", who makes the best cheese sauce, and, naturally, where the very first "horseshoe" was born.There is often heated debate over these topics in local restaurants.I have it on good authority (oh man, someone is gonna ream me for this one, I'm sure!) that the best horseshoe of all comes from a Springfield institution called D'Arcy's Pint.
Last night's rendition was Texas toast, with barbecue seasoned burger patties, Zesty fries (yes, I used Ore Ida, I admit it.) and this lovely cheese sauce. Admittedly, the sauce could have used a little more flavor, so next time I will amp up the seasonings, and probably some more half and half, because it thickened up more than I like. I prefer my cheese sauce to stay thin right down to the last french fry.

So, here it is, in all its glory....the Horseshoe.

First, toast a couple of pieces of thick sliced bread, like Texas toast, and top each piece with your cooked burger.Top the burgers with as many freshly fried potatoes as you think you can handle.Generously douse the fries with your homemade cheese sauce (I mean it, don't even THINK about using the yellow stuff!).Don't forget to open a couple of beers. Yep, that's my Dixie Blackened Voodoo in the background.
The whole shebang takes about 15 minutes to put together. If you start making your sauce when you put your burgers on, you should be about right. You can cheat, like I did last night and bake your fries, but it won't be nearly as good. It just won't.

Now....get thee to a cardiologist....


Ok folks, I'm a total flake and I forgot to include the recipe for the cheese sauce!

Horseshoe Cheese Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups cheddar cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 dash cayenne pepper

1. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Whisk in flour and stir constantly for four minutes.
3. Gradually whisk in half and half and keep stirring until it comes to a simmer.
4. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is melted.
5. Season with worcestershire, ground mustard seed, and cayenne.


Pam said...

Get thee to a cardiologist - love it!

Kim said...

I've never heard of a horseshoe before. I have to say it looks like an awesome meal!! I all the variations, but the buffalo chicken and breakfast one sound the very best to me. Looks like perfect superbowl or winter/comfort food to me. I'm going to show this one to my husband - you know that he'll love it!!

MonkeyGirl said...

I have lived near Illinois all my life and never have heard of such a thing! I can feel my arteries clogging as I read this - now al I have to do is figure out how to make this low fat, whole grain, and lean. Never mind, the original sounds way better!

kitchen koala said...

LOL "Get thee to a cardiologist..." Too funny! I bet it was totally worth it though.

Julie said...

I've never heard of sandwich served up like that. Interesting!

jannza said...

Yee Haw, I'll make some tonight! Couldn't decided on a dinner plan and you just decided for me. Thanks. : )

I also like the variations and since I'm a true southern girl, I'll likely be having the breakfast ones soon with country gravy.

Thanks for posting another yummy addition.