Sunday, April 29, 2007

White Castle Pie (low carb)

That's not cheese veined throughout the ground chicken. It's an egg mixture. That is cheese on top though.

For those who don't know about White Castle, it is a chain of fast food restaurants which is famous for relatively tiny burgers and for being America's oldest burger chain. Personally, I've never had a White Castle burger because there are no shops in Pennsylvania (where I was born), California (where I lived for a year), or Japan (where I am now). I'm not even sure why this recipe is called "White Castle Pie" but I'm guessing it has to do with the onions and fat content of the original incarnation of this recipe (which was for beef and used cream).

White Castle Pie is a low carb cooking mainstay the recipe for which appears on many web sites. I'm not sure who first created it but I will cite the original recipe that my modification was derived from the recipe on Linda's Low Carb Menus and Recipes site. Her picture turned out much better than mine but a big reason for that is that mine is made with (lower fat) chicken and real vegetables whereas hers is made with beef and spice/soup mix. My filling doesn't hold together as tightly as hers because of the veggies and is quite pale.

This is another cheap meal which you can make ahead of time and eat leftovers from for at least a few days (if not more). It freezes well so you can stash some of it away for a lazy day. I can't say that it's the healthiest main dish but I have done what I can to reduce the fat content and increase the nutritional content. It's quite filling and high in protein so you don't need a huge portion. It's great with a plain, steamed strong-tasting green vegetable like broccoli.

I usually make enough for two pies at once so I can freeze a fair bit for the future but this recipe is enough for one pie (which makes 6 servings for those with a relatively average appetite).

White Castle Pie recipe:
  • 500 grams (1 lb.) ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2-3/4 medium onion (finely-diced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (natural mixed cheese is o.k.)
  • olive oil (about 1 tbsp. for frying)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • yellow mustard (for serving)
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add enough olive oil to just cover the bottom (a scant amount). Add the minced garlic and cook it for just a minute or two then add the diced onion and cook until it just starts to soften. Stir frequently for even cooking.
  2. Add the ground poultry and stir the onion and garlic into it. Cook until the meat is cooked through. Thoroughly drain any juice or oil from the pan. It helps to use a lid to drain once, shake the pan, then drain again. Shaking the pan between draining attempts tends to get more juice and oil to come out.
  3. Break the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk briefly. Add the milk and mayonnaise to the eggs and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Salt and pepper the meat mixture to taste. I usually use about a 1/2 tsp. of pepper and 3/4 tsp. of salt (though I don't actually measure it). Stir 1/2 of the cheese into the meat mixture then spoon the mixture into a pie tin. Press it down if necessary to make it no higher than the top of the tin.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the meat mixture then sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake at 180 degrees C. or 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve topped with yellow mustard.
I'm pretty sure one could reduce the mayonnaise quantity from a 1/2 cup to 1/3 without any serious impact on the dish. It's possible it could be cut down to 1/4 but I've never tried that. While a 1/2 cup may seem like a lot, it's not so much when it is spread across 6 servings. It's 1.3 tbsp. per serving which probably isn't much more than people slather on sandwiches. Considering that mayonnaise is practically its own food group in Japan, it's a modest amount of mayo by the standards of Japanese cuisine. ;-)


Sharon said...

I've successfully made a version of this with soy cheese and soy milk for a lactose intolerant friend. It turned out very well, in fact, those who had polished off the regular version descended on the leftover part of that one and didn't notice a difference. (I made 4 pies to serve 12, 8 of whom were starving teens who had been setting up a camp all day.) I served mine with a large side salad and croissants.

It is now a highly demanded dish when I plan meals for camp, because it is easy, freezes well, and tastes great.

Shari said...

Unfortunately, I think soy cheese is pretty hard to get here though soy milk is easy to find. :-)