The Horseshoe -- A Springfield Specialty

I have a cousin who lives just outside Springfield, Illinois on a farm and has been wonderful enough to host our family a couple of times when we went downstate to enjoy the Illinois State Fair. Cindy is kind of my mentor. She was a freelance writer long before I was and was always encouraging to me as a I got started about a dozen years ago. After she published a couple children's books, I did the same. My children's book, Old 104 Rides Again, is based on a true story about an antique fire engine in an event that happened back when my husband was getting started as a volunteer firefighter. I relayed the story to Cindy who told me it sounded like a cute idea for a children's book.  She's been a great inspiration and I feel so lucky to be related to her!

The last time we visited her on the farm, she and her daughter, Allie, whipped up a regional specialty for us called the "horseshoe." It's an item you find on the menu at many restaurants there. It is a messy and fattening, but delicious, open-faced sandwich that starts with toasted bread and then some kind of meat of your choice. Cindy made them for us with hamburger, but you could also use ham, chicken, pork, turkey or just about any meat. I used some smoked ham on the sandwich pictured. Next is a pile of french fries and it's topped with a rich, creamy cheese sauce.

I made one for hubby for lunch today. I think I could have just sat and eaten a pound of fries with that lovely cheese sauce.

Horseshoe sandwich

2 slices of toasted bread
Meat of your choice
About 3 ounces of baked french fries
3 Tablespoons cheese sauce

Cheese sauce:

2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. basil
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
2/3 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(Makes enough sauce for 3 or 4 sandwiches)

On stove top, melt butter in a saucepan. Once melted add 1/2 tsp. basil and 2 tbsp. of flour and stir. Add one cup of of milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook a couple more minutes until milk bubbles and add about 2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until smooth and spoon over horseshoe sandwich.