My mother often made this bliss when I was a child. Like other 1960s- and 70s-era casseroles, its components are simple. The ground beef, crisp bacon, sauteed onions, and extra-sharp Cheddar cheese are lovingly layered between sheets of store-bought crescent roll dough. Need a comforting and delicious main course that you can assemble ahead of time and serve with homemade ketchup? This recipe is for you:
To start, stack 6 strips of “thick cut” (or regular) bacon…
And slice the stack crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces, or “lardons.” Set aside.
Then take a large onion…
And slice it thinly.
There. Our preliminary work is complete.
Put the bacon bits in a frying pan or electric skillet (I use this one), and saute them over medium-low heat until brown and crisp — about 8 minutes.
Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, and set aside.
Pour off and save the bacon fat, add a knob of butter to the skillet, and saute the onion slices until soft — about 8 minutes.
Transfer the cooked onions to a blue-rimmed bowl, and set them aside.
Probably I shouldn’t mention the colors of my kitchen arsenal. Why? Because I recently received the following comment:
“Why do I need a green spatula for mixing the batter? WTF are you talking about? I will NOT be reading your other recipes.”
When I read this comment to my green spatula, the poor thing burst into tears. Green spatulas are easily offended.
Back to the 1960s: Tip 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (preferably 85% lean) into the skillet, and season it with a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce. Use a wooden spoon or green spatula to break up the beef as it browns and cooks. Drain the beef.
To assemble the casserole, preheat the oven to 375°F. Or, do what I did, and accidentally set your oven temperature to 475°F.
Yes, I had a Mr. Magoo moment.
Next, lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, and line the bottom (not the sides) with a sheet of crescent roll dough.
Oh. You can find 8 ounce tubes of crescent roll dough in any American supermarket. I do not know if the same product is available in European markets.
Put the dish in the oven, and bake the dough for just 7 minutes. This par-baking step will mitigate a soggy bottom crust.
Scatter the ground beef evenly over the dough.
Then add the onions…
And 2 cups of shredded, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.
Then grab another “can” of crescent roll dough…
And unroll it over the cheese layer.
Feeling brave? Brush the top of the dough with bacon fat. That’s what I did.
At this point, you can turn off the oven, and cover and refrigerate your casserole. Just preheat the oven again when you are ready to bake.
Bake the pie just until the top turns golden brown — about 20 minutes. Add 5 extra minutes if your pie is cold from the refrigerator.
If you’ve set your oven 100 degrees hotter than it ought to be, your crust will turn very brown indeed. Camouflage your boo-boo with fresh, coarsely-chopped parsley.
Then cut the pie lengthwise and crosswise into 8 portions.
Even when baked at a too-high temperature, this pie is absolutely delicious! I served my portion (okay, I ate 3 portions) with homemade ketchup (recipe here). Steamed broccoli would be welcome on the plate.
This pie lends itself to all kinds of variations. You could, for instance, add chopped, sauteed green bell pepper, sliced black olives, or sauteed mushrooms to the filling. Let your taste buds be your guide!
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Here’s the printable: