When I first moved to Europe, I was very excited about the new culinary experiences I was going to have. But after a few years of grazing my way across the continent, I began to really crave the foods of my homeland—classic American comfort foods. I began to look up recipes for things I could make, things I’d never made before but had taken a sudden interest in. I called my mother to get recipes I remembered from my childhood, and I tweaked them to adapt to the ingredients I was able to get.
I’ve come up with many recipes in the last few years, but this one maybe captures most the essence of the foods I had come to crave. This pie is beefy and cheesy and really, really delicious. It makes me think of a housewife in the ’50s, calling her family to the table for a big slice of cheeseburger pie. Pie that—if this imaginary family is anything like mine—won’t be around for long.
- 1 pie crust, standard
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
Line a 9" pie pan with the crust and prick all over with a fork. Cover with aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, then bake for about 5 to 10 more minutes, until browned.
While the crust is baking you can prepare the filling.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, then cook the onion and pepper until they begin to soften--about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, then add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up often.
Stir in the tomato sauce, the oregano, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs, and remove from heat.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and milk then whisk in the salt, mustard, and cheese, and set aside.
Spoon the beef evenly into the pie crust, then spread the cheese mixture over the top, all the way to the edges.
Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the cheese topping is golden brown. (Keep an eye on the edges of the crust--if they begin to get too browned, make a foil ring and cover them up for the last 10 minutes of baking.)
Serves 4 - 6 people.
About the Author
Ben Rayl authors the blog Comfortable Food, which he began in 2012. He moved to Europe in 2008 after a long career in the restaurant industry, and currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. For new recipe updates, be sure to follow Comfortable Food on Facebook.