July 20 we celebrate the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was the second state to join the union, and once served as the capital of the newly formed country – America.
Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in Philadelphia during its tenure as the temporary capital. Philadelphia made sense – it was geographically centered among the 13 original colonies.
One of the tourist attractions to the state of Pennsylvania are actually people. The Pennsylvania Amish community in Lancaster County is the oldest and largest Amish community in the United States, numbering about 30,000. The population has more than doubled in size in the past 20 years. Those of us on the outside looking in cannot help but to admire the Amish. It’s why we are drawn to Lancaster. These are a people who hold true to their beliefs, with a commitment to God in ways outsiders cannot begin to understand. People of strong faith should be admired. The Muslim who prays to Ali five times a day while most of us rarely pray at all are to be admired. The Amish who aren’t distracted by the secular world of individualism are to be admired. The embodiment of community and unity in their faith in God is not swayed by outside influences. That’s to be admired.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country was settled by German and Swiss immigrants. They brought with them a wide range of hearty recipes that they incorporated into the fresh ingredients available in Pennsylvania countryside. Theirs was a love of Frankfurters, cheeses and pies. And that’s good for us.
Today is the 3rd Wednesday in July – National Hot Dog Day. What is a frankfurter but a fancy name for a Hot Dog. Okay, there is a difference. American Hot Dogs are a cheap knockoff filled with what can only be described as recovered meat slurry. There’s a saying that American should never see how a bill is passed into law and how sausage is made. I think Hot Dogs fall into that Sausage category of it’s better not to know. So don’t look, just enjoy.
Pennsylvania Hot Dog Pie
1 frozen 9-inch Deep-dish Pie Crust
1/4 cup White Onion
1/2 lb Ground Beef
4 Beef Hot Dogs
2 oz Velveeta Processed Cheese
1 (16 oz) can Chili Beans
1/2 cup Ketchup
4 slices American Cheese
Heat oven to 400-degrees. Prick pie crust with a fork. Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven; leave oven hot.
Peel and dice onion. In a large high-sided skillet, cook ground beef and onion together over medium heat until no longer pink; breaking meat apart as it cook. Drain well.
While the meat cooks, cut hot dogs in half lengthwise, then slice and set aside. Cube Velveeta, set aside.
Once the meat is drained, return to the skillet. Add hot dogs, chili beans, ketchup, and cheese cubes. Cook; stirring often, until cheese is melted.
Spoon hot beef mixture into the pie crust. Cut each cheese slice into four strips; make a lattice topping over pie. Bake in the heated oven until cheese is melted, about 6 minutes or so longer.