Welcome to week 29 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Iowa, who joined the union on December 28, 1846. Honestly, I know very little about Iowa and even had to pull out my trusty map to remind myself of its actual location. In case you are like me, it is bounded by the states of Minnesota to the north, Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, and Nebraska and South Dakota to the west. It is…landlocked. It is the only state to have a name that begins with two vowels. And it is also the only state that has two of its borders defined by rivers, with the Mississippi river on its eastern edge and the Missouri River and its tributary, the Big Sioux, forming the western border.
Now that we know where Iowa is, here are some interesting facts about the state. The city of Riverside, Iowa enjoys the unique status of being the “future birthplace” of James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the starship USS Enterprise. As Kirk says, “No, I am from Iowa. I only work in outer space.” The automatic bread slicer was invented by Iowan Otto Frederick Rohwedder in 1912. Clear Lake, Iowa is the place where the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed in a field in 1959, killing all on board. And River City is the place where the musical “The Music Man” takes place. Seventy-six trombones, anyone?
When searching out a recipe for Iowa, it quickly became apparent that this state is very famous for a sandwich called the Maid-Rite Loose Meat Sandwich.
This dish was created in 1926 by a butcher named Fred Angell. He had mixed ground meat with spices and seasonings, and when he shared his creation with a deliveryman, the man said “This sandwich is made right.” Fred wasn’t necessarily a good speller, but his sandwich became a huge hit and there are still Maid-Rite restaurants making it today.
There are a number of different versions of this sandwich on the internet, mostly divided by cooking method and the amount of tang vs. sweet ingredients. Since Maid-Rite was never cooked in a Crockpot, I opted for a stove top version, and tweaked the combination of ingredients to my liking. The result is a tasty meat filling with a nice balance of sweetness, but really, really messy. I am thinking that the only way to actually eat one of these without a knife and fork would be to wrap it in sandwich paper, since all the meat otherwise just falls out of the bun. Regardless, it was super simple to make and comes together in under 30 minutes. An easy meal for a weeknight, and a nice change from a standard hamburger or sloppy joe. I give it a solid A for tastiness.
Enjoy, and see you next week in Wisconsin!
Recipe for Maid-Rite Loose Meat Sandwich (my version, adapted from several sources)
1 lb Ground Beef
1 medium Onion, chopped
¾ cup beef broth
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 ½ Tbsp Soy Sauce
Mustard, Ketchup and Pickle slices
In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef and onion, breaking the meat up as you cook until the pieces are very small.
Combine the broth, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add it to the meat, stir and continue chopping ground beef. Bring the liquid to a simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated (about 15 minutes).
Top a heaping spoonful onto the hamburger bun and top with your choice of pickles, mustard and ketchup.