The Covered Dish: White Castle Copycats


Debbie Dance Uhrig

As I sit down to pen this week’s column I have soooo….many projects going its absolute chaos! An 8am business meeting, two banana cakes to bake, a margarita pie to test run, a speaking engagement to outline, and about six other ‘irons’ as we’ll call them.  The good thing is tomorrow will be a breeze after today.  I forgot to mention that the crockpot is also going with a hefty amount of pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches later in the week!  Never a dull moment around this ‘homestead’.  When I was a small girl our neighbor, Mr. Kitch, would always have a scripture verse or a quote, here’s one I live by:  ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.’  Mr. Kitch has been gone around 50 years and he certainly influenced my life.  His other singy-song was:  ‘You mustn’t work on Sunday, on Sunday, on Sunday, because it is a sin, but you can work on Monday on ….’  Sorry, just had to throw that one in there.

Frequently at my husband, Ervin’s, work they have special ‘snack’ days where everyone brings in a sweet or savory treat.  For the last 3-4 months I’ve repetitively heard about the white castle burgers Kathy Wittmuss and Christina Anderson bring in to work.  Ervin was able to procure a recipe from each of these delightful ladies.  As usual I went through and made my own personal adaptions for them as they are presented below.  I think they’re something different, and they will also evoke quite a few memories.  For Example:  When I was growing up we went to St. Louis at least 3-4 times a year for shopping purposes.  We would leave on Friday evening just as soon as my dad got off work.  This meant we would arrive rather late in St. Louis, so we would go to White Castle for supper. Back then you also ate in your car.  If there was an inside seating area I don’t remember it.  When Ervin, my husband, was in college he drove with a carload of friends to St. Louis one night specifically for White Castles!  It was probably a 4-5 hour drive one way just for burgers!

One of my two contributors uses a package of onion soup mix instead of the dry onion which you will find in this recipe.  My reason for the change was based upon the additional sodium content.  One of the ladies also used Velveeta cheese.  Sure, you can certainly use Velveeta, it’s all a personal choice issue.

Be sure and make a good choice of bread for this recipe.  I enjoy using King’s Hawaiian Rolls because of their size & flavor.  Other quality rolls will work equally as well.  Sometimes explaining how the rolls are placed is a little difficult.  After the cheese goes down lay the bottom of the roll over the cheese and sit the top of the roll over the bottom.   As you remove each serving you will simply ‘flip’ the slider onto the plate and put the top bun on at that time.

With the big super bowl upon us I thought many would appreciate this recipe.  I think both young and old will enjoy.  Make sure you use a pan that has a ‘side wall’ like jelly roll pans or a 9 x 13 cake pan as indicated.

Embrace the day!  Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

White Castle Knock-Offs

(Makes one dozen)

1/2 cup dry onion flakes

Water to cover onion flakes

1 1/2 pounds ground beef or chuck, totally thawed

6-8 slices American cheese

1 dozen, Sweet Hawaiian Dinner Rolls,

   (Can use something comparable.)

Thin sliced dill pickles

9 x 13 glass baking dish

Small rolling pin or empty can

Re-hydrate dry onions by covering with water and microwaving for about 4 minutes.  Monitor as microwaves can vary.  If there’s any liquid left, drain onions.  Now sprinkle the onions evenly across the bottom of the dish.  With your hands sprinkle the 1 1/2 pounds of beef across the top of the onions.  Using a rolling pin, (I used an empty can because it fit so well inside the baking dish.) compress the meat down tightly in the bottom.  Slide the meat into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and drain any excess liquid/grease from the meat.  Return to the oven for about five more minutes and again remove any extra juices if it’s necessary at all.

Take the cheese and place it across the top of the meat.  With a serrated knife cut the dinner rolls in half.  Place the bottom of each roll face down against the cheese and set the top of the roll over it.  Return to the oven and bake for approximately 5-7 minutes.

When you place the rolls into the pan space them out evenly.  When serving you will cut a square around each roll.  Use a spatula to serve inverting the lid of the bun to the top as you go.  Garnish with dill pickles.  The pickles can actually go in the baking pan, I prefer to serve them on the side so the guests have a choice.

When served as a main entrée expect to use 2-3 per person.  Everyone loves these so be sure to make plenty for your dinner or party!

Special Thanks to Kathy Wittmuss and Christina Anderson for getting me started on this fun recipe!



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