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The Horseshoe

Only in Springfield, IL and my kitchen

If you are from Springfield, Illinois you may stop reading this immediately. Head down to Darcy’s or Den Chili or Penny Lane and do your thing. This posting has no meaning for you. If you find my “And Justice for All” t-shirt, please return it. Oh, and sorry about the elf boots.

For those of you with the fortune (good or bad I suppose) of not growing up in Springfield, the town of roughly 100,000 folks is known for this:

1. It’s the State capitol. It’s where governors serve their time before they serve their time.

2. The town is home to the only house Abraham Lincoln ever owned. “Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man,” he told town residents before boarding the train to Washington for his inauguration. Welcome to my history degree.

3. Everyone eats horseshoes, and they taste like a little piece of cheese slathered cardiac heaven.

For our pedestrian purposes, a horseshoe is two pieces of toast laid out side by side on a plate. A hamburger is placed on each piece of toast. Fries are piled thick and high and hot on the burgers. Finally, a cheese sauce…

Not your nacho cheese or your canned cheese. If you do this, you are banned from Hooters and Taco Bell for life.

What I mean is a real sauce, made with a roux and a good solid cheese.

Now horseshoes aren’t difficult, but there are those four distinct components (toast, burger, fries, cheese sauce). A little time management is necessary. So, we’re going to do this by a timer. Now we’re going to make two horseshoes/two servings. It can be split into four servings, one piece of toast and burger each. That’s called a pony shoe. To repeat, two toasts and two burgers equal horseshoe. One toast and one burger is a pony shoe. Also, you can use anything you like instead of the hamburger. Some folks use turkey or chicken breasts or grilled vegetables. We are keeping it for reals here though, as the kids would say. We are meat a meat eating man-child and proud of it. But first, the ingredients.

For the toast.

· 4 pieces of bread

For the hamburger

· 1 pound of hamburger

For the fries

· About a 8 handfuls of frozen fries

For the cheese sauce

· 3 tablespoons butter

· 3 tablespoons flour

· 1 ½ cup milk

· 10 ounces by weight of your favorite cheese. I usually use cheddar or colby or a blend.

· A couple of splooshes of Worcestershire sauce

Set a timer for 40 minutes. Set your oven for 400. Go.

Seriously, no space for snarky comments. We’re on the clock, sailor. Get moving. We’ve got freaking horseshoes to make.

Bring out your hamburger. Salt and pepper it. Loosely form it into four patties. Don’t pack it. That’s for those other people. Remember, we’re refined now. Shred your cheese. Wait.

25 minutes left.

Put your fries on a tray and put them in the oven. Most frozen fries can go 20-25 at 400 degrees. You may have to adjust yourself accordingly. Put your skillet for your burger on the stove top and set to super medium high. I use a cast iron skillet. It still has patina on it from horseshoes I made in the while watching Full House. Those crazy Tanners. Anyway, I love you skillet as much as any man can love a kitchen appliance. Don’t over think that.

20 minutes left

Add a thin layer of oil to your skillet.

18 minutes left

Put your burgers in the skillet. Don’t play with them or turn them until I tell you.

14 minutes left

Flip your burgers. I told you to. Again, don’t play with them.

10 minutes left

Take the burgers off the skillet and place them in tin foil. They are now resting. The sleepy bastards. Put a sauce pan on medium heat. Add your butter to the sauce pan.

8 minutes left

The butter should be melted. Add the flour and whisk constantly. You’re making a roux. That’s real chef talk for “fancy gravy base.” Stupid French. Ahh..no time…

6 minutes left

I actually love the French. I got my first kiss from Sophie, our foreign exchange student. Yes, last week was magical. Keep whisking. Slowly pour in milk. We want it to simmer. Don’t boil it, just simmer. Start your toast.

4 minutes left

Your milk should be simmering by now. Add handfuls of cheese. When one handful melts completely, add the next. Do this until the cheese is all melted. Whisk the entire time.

2 minutes left

Add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the cheese. Taste. Add some salt if necessary. Whisk a little more.

1 minute left

Take fries out of the oven. Take cheese off the stove. Take toast out of the toaster. Unfoil the burgers. Salt your fries.

Go time

Put toast on plates. Put one burger on each piece of toast. Put two handfuls of fries on each hamburger. Pour two ladles of cheese sauce over the fries. I hit mine with a little paprika and tabasco on top. As usual, do what you will.

Whew, I’m exhausted. Enjoy kids. Go Prairie Stars!

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