While grocery shopping recently, I picked up some ground beef. It wasn’t on the list; my general thought process was something like, “Hey, this is on sale, and I’ve got a lot of bookmarked recipes calling for ground beef.” I got home and looked through my bookmarks, and realized they were all fairly silly or complicated (or both). This seemed to be the most harmless option, with the added benefit of being a little bit silly.
Here I am, in a blue-check apron, making Hamburger-Rice Pie. (Only one pound of meat! OOOOOH!) Really, how could I possibly resist this, since I am already pictured in the advertisement making it?
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup fine dry bread
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1-1/2 tsp. saalt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cans Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup grated American cheese, if desired
Mix beef, bread crumbs, onion, green pepper, seasonings, and 1/2 can Hunt’s Tomato Sauce. Spread in greased 9-inch pie pan, pushing mixture in sides of pan to form an edge. Mix rice, cheese, and remaining sauce. Place in meat shell. Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 30-35 minutes or until meat is done. Cut into pie-shaped pieces. Makes 6 servings.
A little odd sounding, but the ingredients are straightforward.
Almost everything goes into the crust, however — meat, crumbs, vegetables, and even salt and pepper.
And then it gets squished into the pie pan to form a “crust.”
At this point, the middle child walked into the kitchen and declared, “This smells like chips.”
It didn’t smell like chips. Besides, he likes chips, so I don’t know why he pulled his “I am suspicious of what you are cooking” face.
Here’s the weirdest thing about this recipe — look closely at this serving from the advertisement. Those green bits are green pepper, right? Well, actually they sort of look like olives, but green pepper is in the ingredient list. However, the green pepper is suppose to be added to the meat crust, not the rice filling. Did they magically float up through the filling while baking? Or did the photographer realize that, without a bit of texture for contrast, the filling looked thoroughly unappetizing?
Maybe middle child is right to be suspicious.
This is what the rice, as the recipe calls for, actually looks like. No green bits! (And slightly less orange.)
Since the American cheese is only an ingredient “if desired,” I decided we didn’t desire American cheese tonight. Instead, the rice filling was seasoned with an Italian herb blend and plenty of Parmesan cheese. (I can’t fathom anybody thinking that American cheese would pair well with tomato sauce.)
Since the oldest child is lactose intolerant, I filled in one “wedge” of pie with just sauce and rice. (It’s marked at the edges with toothpicks.)
The thing I really don’t like about cooking meat in a pan — meatloaf, for example — is that all the melted fat just hangs around instead of draining off. This was no exception.
Also interesting to note? The pie filling ends up looking like raw meat even when the “crust” is fully cooked through, which is mildly disconcerting.
I like to try to make a “pretty” serving, so I can have a nice picture to finish up the post. This was tough to do, however, because the first few pie pieces just didn’t hold together at all — I just got blobs.
After cooling for a few minutes (and spooning out A LOT of juice and fat), the crust and filling had congealed somewhat and made serving simpler.
Aside from messy serving, this tasted pretty darn good. Imagine spaghetti and meatballs, but with the meatballs spread flat and put under the spaghetti, and the spaghetti is rice. Of course, since it falls apart easily, you end up with meat chunks mixed throughout the filling. Take the time to season the filling, and it’s a fairly easy and tasty meal.
Add some American cheese, on the other hand, and I don’t think you’ll like it one little bit!
This Hunt’s tomato sauce ad appeared in Life Magazine in 1948, and now appears online at The Gallery of Graphic Design.