The Canadian Horseshoe

I’m not sure how many of you may be familiar with the culinary classic, the horseshoe sandwich. For the uninitiated here’s the Wikipedia description, “This open-faced sandwich begins with thick-sliced toasted bread, and most often hamburger patties, or ham. Other meat is also used, such as deep fried pork tenderloin, grilled or fried chicken breast, and fried fish filets. There is also a “breakfast” horseshoe that uses eggs and hash browns. The meat is topped with French fries and smothered with a ‘secret’ cheese sauce. The cheese sauce varies from chef to chef, allowing each cook to create a signature dish, but the sauce is a sort of Welsh rabbit, common ingredients being eggs, beer, butter, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper.”

According to Wikipedia, and most food folklore, the dish originated in Springfield, Illinois. I don’t want to knock the description from Wikipedia, but in my hometown a couple of hours north of Springfield you would find horseshoe sandwiches that I suspect were covered more in Cheez Whiz than Welsh rabbit. However, growing up the pinnacle of horseshoe greatness was the Italian horseshoe at Pagliai’s Pizza. It was a thick hamburger patty covered in the most perfectly fried crinkle cut French fries and topped with Italian tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. In fact, I talked about that damn Italian horseshoe SO much that the very first Valentine’s Day that my husband I celebrated after moving in together he attempted to recreate it without ever having seen or tasted one himself. It was a success, and until health issues came into play, it was what we had for dinner every Valentine’s Day.

Now my friends, you may recall that I was recently in Canada, home of poutine, which Wikipedia helpfully describes as, “a dish of French fries, fresh cheese curds, and sometimes additional ingredients, covered with brown gravy or sauce.” While visiting Canada I did not get to have poutine, but I did get to try one of its variants called mozza fries. It’s just like poutine except you replace shredded mozzarella for the cheese curds. And it was a tasty, tasty treat.

I recently had my gallbladder removed, which as of now has made no improvement in any of the symptoms that I had prior to the surgery. Essentially I’m exactly the same, except now I’m minus a gallbladder. In an attempt to cheer me up my husband decided to recreate the mozza fries I had in Canada. I can eat French fries when they’re baked, we currently keep fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese on hand (lame I know, but I do what I can), and we bought the lowest fat, blandest appearing brown gravy in a jar. Then my husband, in an attempt to turn it into a meal cooked up a lean ground beef patty. So once you take away all the added adjectives, what we had was a hamburger patty topped with French fries, covered in beef gravy and mozzarella cheese.

The Canadian Horseshoe

And holy crap, my husband created the Canadian horseshoe! Go, tell your friends. Better still, someone tell the folks over at Pagliai’s Pizza.