Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pretty Good

One of my flaws is that I will tinker around with a dish, hit on what seems to work, and then not remember exactly what I did.  This frustrates the Phenom to no end.  I never have been able to recapture the fresh pasta sauce I made 15 years ago.  Now, I have just given up because I suspect we have built the memory of that pasta up until it has reached mythic levels.

This week, per Phenom's request, I made a batch of a local specialty he grew up eating:  Ground Steak Sandwiches.  There is a social club in Phenom's home town that makes a terrific version.  People will line up around the block to get these sandwiches on festival days.

It's kinda like a sloppy joe, but without tomatoes.  Essentially, the meat is held together with a white gravy.  I've tried to figure it out on my own.  I've purchased several community cookbooks from this community to find recipes.  I seem to recall a bribe was once offered.  And, now, I think I've hit on what makes a pretty good version of the ground steak.

I browned (1 lb at a time) 3 lbs of ground beef.  I think I had 2 lbs ground chuck and 1 lb ground round.  I added just a little pepper to the meat as it was browning.  I drained it off and allowed it to cool.  Then I put it in the crock part of my crock pot and stashed it in the fridge.  (BTW, this is the only thing I make in the crockpot.  I'm pretty much a failure at the crockpot.)  The next morning, I put the crock into the base and turned it on low.  I added one can of low sodium beef broth and went to work.

When I came home, I decided that the liquid level wasn't quite enough and added 1/2 a cup ish of hot water.  When I was ready to eat, I pulled off about a cup of liquid and whisked it with 2 tbls flour, and added it back to the meat.  I also added 3/4 - 1 tsp salt and about the same amount black pepper.  After it simmered a few more minutes, I decided it wasn't quite tight enough and sprinkled a couple tsp corn starch over the mixture.

Serve on toasted buns.  In Phenom's home town, they serve it with slaw and a slice of tomato.  Phenom just likes it with a generous amount of mayo on the bun.

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