DEPRESSION BURGERS aka OKLAHOMA FRIED ONION BURGERS ~ BLOG 365.143

DURING the depression in El Reno, a small Oklahoma town along the Mother Road aka Route 66 at Hwy 81 when hamburger meat was really expensive Ross Davis, an inventive diner owner found a way to ration the meat with the inclusion of flavorful and cheap onions that stretched the meat and built the flavor too, hence why it was called the depression burger.

The recipe has been passed down through the generations and are still made the same way today. Several other diners followed suit and a burger star was born. The burger became a national treasure and is the ugly kissing cousin to the prettier version of how burgers are served today with the grilled onions on top.

I’ve added cheese and changed the onions to shallots which give it a bit of an extra bite. By adding the cheese we have onions between the meat and cheese as well as on top of the cheese.  The key to the flavor in my opinion is to ALMOST burning the onions.

DEPRESSION BURGERS aka OKLAHOMA FRIED ONION BURGERS
Adapted from Cook’s Country

3 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4-8 slices cheddar cheese
Mayonnaise
Ketchup and Mustard
Pickles
4 hamburger buns, toasted

  • Combine the onion slices and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, tossing to combine.
  • Transfer the onions to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Transfer the onions to a clean dish towel, gather the edges together and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the onions. Be sure to do this over the sink since the onions will have quite a bit of liquid in them.
  • Divide the onions into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Form the beef into 4 lightly packed balls.
  • Place the beef balls on top of the onion mounds and flatten the beef firmly using your palm so the onion adheres to the beef. The patties should measure 4 inches in diameter.
  • Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • Using a large spatula, transfer the patties to the skillet, onion side down. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the onions turn a deep golden brown and begin to crisp around the edges.
  • Flip the burgers, then increase the heat to high and cook until well browned on the second side, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 or 2 slices of cheese to each burger and allow to melt.
  • Add mayo, mustard and pickles to the top buns, then place each burger on a bottom buns.
  • Serve immediately.

Originally posted July 12, 2018 / Updated May 23, 2023

GRILLED or OVEN ROASTED BROWN SUGAR RUBBED TRI-TIP

 GRILLED or OVEN ROASTED BROWN SUGAR RUBBED TRI-TIP

1 whole tri-tip, about 2-3 pounds
3 + tablespoons of your favorite beef rub
6 + tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • Trim silver skin from roast.
  • The meat may have a thick layer of fat, some of which can be sliced off, but keep a
  • good amount to help baste meat and keep it juicy.
  • Sprinkle meat with your rub and massage lightly all over.
  • Pack the brown sugar over the rub, pressing to adhere.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or as long as overnight.

 

  • Remove from refrigerator an hour before cooking.
  • Prepare grill to high.
  • Place roast on grill and sear one side well, 6 to 8 minutes, checking for flare-ups.
  • Turn the roast and sear other side another 6 minutes.
  • Lower to medium-high or move the meat to a cooler part of the charcoal grill.
  • Turn meat again and cook another 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Flip and cook another 6-8 minutes.
  • The roast is ready when an instant-read thermometer reaches 130° when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
  • Cover roast with foil and rest on a cutting board 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Slice against the grain.

NOTES and HINTS:

  • A 2-pound roast will require about 20 to 25 minutes total cooking time.
  • The trick is to carve the tri-tip against the grain, which can change directions in this cut. The roast is shaped like a boomerang. Slice the roast in two at the place where the fibers change direction. Carve each piece separately.
  • Left overs make AMAZING sandwiches.

OVEN ROASTING

  • Prepare meat with rub and refrigerate as instructed.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to a large, heavy ovenproof pan.
  • Heat pan on high until pan is very hot, then add tri-tip, fat side down.
  • Turn heat to medium-high and sear roast for about 4 minutes.
  • Turn the roast and put the pan in the oven.
  • Cook 10 minutes a pound, checking with an instant-read thermometer until it reaches 130 for medium-rare.

ORANGE BEEF LETTUCE WRAPS

ORANGE BEEF LETTUCE WRAPS
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup water chestnut, diced small
2⁄3 cup mushroom, diced small
1 small shallot, diced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 leaves butter lettuce
1/2-1 cup crispy rice noodles
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  • Add shallots and green onions to pan sautéing until soft.
  • Add water chestnuts, garlic, mushrooms and ginger, sautéing a few minutes more.
  • Add stir fry sauce and stir until well blended.
  • When chicken is cool, shred it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts pieces are.
  • Add chicken into mixture, toss to blend and coat well.

STIR FRY SAUCE
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  • Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

SPECIAL SAUCE
1⁄2 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 cloves garlic, minced
1
2 teaspoons Siracha

  • Whisk together the sugar and water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
  • Add liquid aminos, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, orange marmalade and desired amount of Siracha whisking until well blended.

ASSEMBLY

  • Serve each helping in a lettuce leaf.
  • Top with a handful of crispy rice noodles.
  • Pour Special sauce over the wraps.

BLACK BEAN, BEEF & POTATO ENCHILADAS

BLACK BEAN, BEEF & POTATO ENCHILADAS
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pound chuck roast
2 1/4 cups enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can original ROTEL tomatoes, drained well
1 large russet potato, baked
8 flour tortillas
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
FRESH ground salt and pepper to taste
Chopped black olives and onions, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Season chuck roast on all sides.
  • Heat avocado oil in dutch oven.
  • Sear chuck roast on all sides
  • Add onions to pan, top with 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, cover and bake 2 hours until meat is easily shredable. Shred meat into sauce.
  • Add black beans and rotel tomatoes to the meat mixture.
  • Wash and dry potato. Bake potato until tender along side the dutch oven.
  • Cool potato enough to e able to handle it. Peel off skin and coarsely chop.
  • Ladle 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Divide potato among the tortillas and top with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Add about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture.
  • Fold sides over the filling and roll up placing seam side down in baking dish. Repeat.
  • Top tortillas with remaining meat and sauce, brushing to cover the tops.
  • Bake covered for 20-25 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and Serve.

NOTE: You can easily replace the potato with rice of choice for a change.

HAWAIIAN MILANESA

HAWAIIAN MILANESA
Beef top round, cut into 4 thin milanesa steaks
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 stalk celery, sliced on the diagonal
3 green carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 shallot halved and sliced thin
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 cup pretzels
1 cup animal cookies
2 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
PREPARED rice

  • Grind pretzels and animal cookies into a fine dust. Pour into a shallow dish.
  • Whisk together the eggs until well blended.
  • Immerse steaks into eggs.
  • Dredge steaks into pretzel dust.
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add steaks and sear 2 minutes per side.  Remove steaks and keep warm.
  • Add carrots and celery to skillet, sauteing until beginning to soften.
  • Add shallots and garlic, sauteing a few minutes more.
  • Add chicken broth and cook a few minutes until reduced.
  • Whisk together the liquid aminos, pineapple juice and cornstarch into a slurry.
  • Stir pineapple and slurry into the vegetables cooking to desired consistency.
  • Serve over steak and rice.

COFFEE POT ROAST ala SLOW COOKER

COFFEE POT ROAST ala SLOW COOKER – serves 4
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, quartered**
2 Medium onions, halved and wedged
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid amino acids
8-10 small gold potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork
3 LARGE carrots, rustic large cuts

1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cold water

  • Place half the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Top with the garlic followed by half the beef. Repeat the layers.
  • Whisk together the coffee and liquid aminos.
  • Pour over beef.
  • Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, about 8 hours.
  • At 6 hours add the carrot pieces.

  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to cooking juices, stirring to blend.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH (about 30 minutes) until gravy is thickened.

NOTES:
**The original recipe was for slow cooking, but I prefer the oven unless I’m going to be gone all day. If I use the oven I DO NOT quarter it. If using the oven adjust the roasting time to 2-3 hours of covered and undisturbed roasting with the potatoes and carrots.

The original recipe had you slicing the onions thin. BUT, if you halve it root to tip and then wedge it you not only get thin pieces, you also get MORE flavor when you cut the onion in this direction.

The original recipe did NOT call for browning the meat, but I find you get a juicier roast with more flavor if you do so when roasting in the oven.

HEARTY BEEF SOUP

HEARTY BEEF SOUP
1 pound chuck roast, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (see below)
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, halved, sliced and chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 carrots, chopped
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pasta

  • Heat butter and avocado oil in a skillet over a medium high heat.
  • Combine flour, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a ziploc bag.
  • Dredge beef pieces in flour mixture, shaking off the excess before adding to the hot oil. Sear beef on all sides.
  • Using a slotted spoon add beef to dutch oven.
  • Add celery, carrots and shallots to skillet and quickly saute before adding to the dutch oven.
  • Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and wine, stirring to combine.
  • Simmer on low 2 hours.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add pasta and simmer 1 hour more.
  • Enjoy!

ITALIAN SEASONING BLEND
1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 tablespoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried sage

  • Blend together and store in an air tight bottle.

BAKED CRANBERRY MEATBALLS

This recipe is the result of 3 recipes combined together. The flavor profile is so unique, it’s actually hard to describe. They are tangy, they are sweet and they are purple! 😀 BUT, they are delicious!!!!

BAKED CRANBERRY MEATBALLS makes 50+ meatballs
1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce (use this link for the homemade sauce recipe or see notes)
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
12 ounces Heinz chili sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
2 pounds ground beef
2 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together the soup mix and bread crumbs.
  • Crumble beef over top.
  • Pour eggs over top and gently mix with your hands JUST until combined.
  • Shape into evenly sized meatballs and place in baking dish.
  • In a large saucepan combine the chili sauce, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, chicken broth, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Heat JUST to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve all the sugar.
  • Pour over uncooked meatballs.
  • Baked covered 1 hour.
  • Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until cooked through and sauce is thickened.

NOTES: I like to use homemade cranberry sauce, but you can easily use a can of Ocean Spray whole berry sauce.

JALAPENO BBQ MEATBALLS aka TANGY SMOKEY MEATBALLS

JALAPENO BBQ MEATBALLS aka TANGY SMOKEY MEATBALLS

MEATBALLS
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 LARGE egg, beaten
1 cup quick cooking oats
6 ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Line a large jelly roll pan with foil. Use 2 pans if necessary.
  • Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

 

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a large bowl combine eggs, oats, milk, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended.
  • Add the ground beef and mix thoroughly.
  • Shape meat into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  • Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.
  • While baking, prepare sauce.
  • At 30 minutes, pour off grease and combine meatballs onto a single tray.
  • Pour sauce over meatballs, turning balls to coat.
  • Return pan to oven and bake another 20 minutes.

SAUCE
1 cup jalapeño ketchup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • In a saucepan whisk together sauce ingredients.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Simmer 5 minutes.

HORSERADISH POTATO CRUSTED BEEF STEW

Another RECIPE SCRAP recipe wins!  The horseradish and cheddar cheese combo is AWESOME! and really elevates a basic stew to the next level.

HORSERADISH POTATO CRUSTED BEEF STEW

STEW
1 1/2 pounds lean stew meat, diced small bite sized
1 cup blended red wine
1/2 cup Moscato white wine
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 orange, sliced
1/3 cup Wondra
1 large Vidalia onion, quartered and sliced
4 carrots, sliced into thick chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup beef bone broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Place half the orange slices the bottom of a non-metallic bowl.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Generously season with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Top with the remaining orange slices.
  • Whisk together the wines and caraway seeds.
  • Pour over beef, cover and marinade over night or at least 4 hours.

 

  • Preheat oven 325°.
  • Drain the beef WELL, discard oranges, but reserve the marinade.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in dutch oven.
  • Generously season the beef with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge the beef in the Wondra.
  • Sear the beef pieces.
  • Add the onions, garlic and carrots and simmer 5 minutes or so.
  • Add mushrooms.
  • Whisk together the cornstarch with the beef stock and marinade, whisking until blended. Stir into stew.
  • Season to taste.
  • Cover and cook in oven 45 minutes.

CRUST – prepare potato crust so it is ready at the 45 minute mark
1 1/2 pounds YUKON potatoes, grated
1 tablespoon Avocado oil or 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons creamy horseradish
2/3 cup grated SHARP cheddar cheese
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Blanch the grated potatoes for 5 minutes in boiling water.
  • Drain well.
  • Use a cheesecloth to squeeze any remaining liquid from the potatoes.
  • Stir in avocado oil, horseradish, cheese and season to taste.
  • Layer potatoes evenly over the stew.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 400°.
  • Cook 30 minutes more until the potato crust is crisp and golden brown.

MONGOLIAN BEEF ala INSTANT POT

MONGOLIAN BEEF serves 6

2 pounds flank steak, sliced into thin strips across the grain
1/3 cup cornstarch
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
3/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
1 cup water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 cup shredded or julienned carrots
Sliced green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish
Cooked white rice

  • Place flank steak strips in a 1 gallon resealable bag.
  • Add cornstarch, seal bag and shake to coat evenly.
  • In a medium bowl, add ginger root, garlic, soy sauce,  water, brown sugar and Hoisin sauce stirring well to combine.
  • Set your Instant Pot to the saute setting.
  • Add olive oil.
  • When olive oil is heated, add beef and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour mixture over beef and stir to combine.
  • Add carrots and stir again.
  • Turn Instant Pot off.
  • Place the lid on and lock.
  • Steam release knob should be set on “sealing”.
  • Cook on manual setting (high pressure) for 10 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove lid and stir.
  • Serve over cooked white rice and top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

BEEF RAGU & PASTA ala SLOW COOKER and A LITTLE PASTA HISTORY

Strozzapreti AKA priest-choker or priest-strangler are an elongated form of cavatelli, a hand-rolled pasta typical of the Tuscany region of Italy.

The name has many theories as to the name. One of the theories is because of gluttonous priests were so enthralled by the savory pasta that they ate too quickly and choked themselves. Another explanation involves the “azdora” OR A  ”housewife” who “chokes” the dough strips to make the strozzapreti. It is presumed that the housewife would express such a rage possibly triggered by the misery and difficulty of her life that would fill her with enough rage to be able to strangle a priest!” And yet another legend suggests that wives would customarily make pasta for priests as partial payment for land rents (the Catholic church rented to many farmers) and their husbands would be angered enough by the priests eating their wives’ food to wish that the priests would choke as they stuffed their mouths with it. And yet another possible explanation is that the pasta resembles a clerical collar which is commonly referred to as a “Priest Choker”.

The more commonly accepted theory is that following Sunday mass, a priest would visit homes of the villagers and enjoy dinner with them. The more pleasant the experience for the priest the more often they would come back to that particular home. As a means for the family to let the priest know that he might have worn out his welcome, they would serve this pasta which later earned the name “Strozzapreti.”

The dough is first rolled out in thick flat sheets. It is then cut into strips. The strips are lightly rolled or twisted between the palms. The large pasta is separated into 3-4 inch pieces by pinching it. Unlike spaghetti or macaroni, this pasta is not uniform in size or shape.

Different regions makes this pasta slightly different. In Romagna it is made with wheat flour, water, salt and sometimes eggs. Where as in Emilia it is made from flour, water, Parmesan cheese and egg whites which are all beaten together. In Pici it is more similar to the Tuscan style which is hand rolled, solid fat tubes of dough that are cut, but not twisted giving it the appearance of a taut rope. In Corsica it is a large gnocchi made of cheese and vegetables and then baked.

Unless you make your own pasta regularly this is a difficult pasta to find in your average grocery store. I usually substitute the Barilla Campagnelle pasta which is a thinner cone shaped pasta with a ruffled edge and is often known as “little bells”.

BEEF RAGU ala SLOW COOKER
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 -3 pound chuck roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning (see below)
28 ounce crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Prepared pasta
Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Arrange the onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the roast with the house seasoning on both sides.
  • Arrange roast on top of the onions and garlic.
  • Sprinkle the carrots on top of the roast.
  • In a medium bowl, blend together the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine vinegar and Italian seasonings.
  • Pour over the roast.
  • Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours until the beef is EXTREMELY tender and falls apart.
  • Skim any fat from the top.
  • Use 2 forks to shred the beef.
  • Stir beef into the tomato sauce.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Re-cover and cook for another hour to allow the flavored to meld together.
  • Serve over prepared pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

HOUSE SEASONING MIX

1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper

  • Combine in a small bowl until well blended.
  • Store in an air tight container.