Blue Steaks

Whoever first had the idea of combining blue cheese with chopped beef must be memorialized in a museum of culinary arts somewhere. If not, he or she should be. The combination is wonderful. I first had this steak at a small supper club near Eagle River, Wisconsin in the summer of 1961. I made my first blue steaks about three weeks later when I went home to visit my family.

The steaks were not a great success. My father, though born and raised in Wisconsin, didn’t like cheese, my mother thought that all hamburger should be fried until it withered in defeat and back then my sisters didn’t like anything I cooked. But if I do say so myself those blue steaks were almost as good as the one I had at the supper club, so I kept making them.

There are many recipes for hamburgers garnished with a blue cheese sauce and a few with blue cheese fillings that include ingredients such as garlic, onion, sour cream and various spices. I have eaten such, and they are often quite tasty, but in this instance I think that simpler is better. I like to make these large enough to serve as a steak, six to eight ounces. Could we call them diet blue burgers?


Extra lean ground beef
Blue or gorgonzola cheese
Steak seasoning


Size the steaks according to appetite. For each steak, make two thin patties of meat. Put a layer of blue cheese in the center of one patty, top with the other patty, seal the edges well and sprinkle lightly with steak seasoning or salt and pepper. Grill over charcoal to the desired doneness; for medium to medium well, grill three to four minutes on one side, turn over and grill another three to four minutes. Serve with a garden salad, baked potato, and fresh green peas for an elegant, inexpensive dinner.


Let diners add more seasoning or steak sauce if they wish. One nice thing about this steak is that you can vary the amount of cheese to suit individual tastes. For an eight ounce steak, I use about two tablespoons.

When it is cold and nasty outside, I fry these delicacies in a hot cast iron skillet coated lightly with cooking spray. They still taste pretty good.

The bean Pot

Some people treasure a piece of furniture passed down to them by their mothers or grandmothers, a cradle or a rocking chair perhaps that they remember being lulled to sleep in when they were little. Others display a painting or a photograph of grandparents or great grandparents on their wedding day. I look at them and wonder how the solemn husband and wife ended up with so many children, and I wish that I could have known them when they were young and in love. There were a pair of these photos in our family with curved glass in oval walnut frames that one of my sisters guards today.

But my treasures are more modest. While others inherited jewelry or great estates, I inherited a bean pot. As I was growing up it appeared regularly on our supper table from October to May. In summer, Mom baked beans only for special occasions like church picnics or family reunions.

Someday my bean pot may become a valuable family heirloom, first since it belonged to my mother and second because it was not made in China. If you hold it right, you can see U.S.A. stamped under the brown glaze on the bottom.

And though it is old it works just fine. Fill it with beans and sauce, slip it into the oven and it does its job just as reliably today as it did when I was too young to chop the onion. And that’s a long time ago. I never asked my mother for her baked bean recipe. If I had she would probably have said that she did not have one, but she followed the same steps every time I watched.

Before she went to bed she rinsed and picked over about a pound of beans and left them to soak overnight. After breakfast the next morning she would boil them for an hour or so then mix them with a sauce she made in the frying pan on the stove and put them in the oven to bake slowly. When the beans were done she would raise the temperature in the oven to bake bread and rolls. Ah, heaven.

The recipe below comes close to producing baked beans like my mother used to make. My wife has a crock pot bean recipe that she thinks is better, and they are pretty good. But if I’m cooking and friends come to dinner when we’re having baked beans, I serve them from my mother’s bean pot.


2 cups navy beans (1 lb.)
1/3 pound bacon (3 or 4 thick slices)
1 medium onion (2 1/2 inch)
5 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
2 T maple syrup


Rinse the beans and pick out any pebbles or other debris. I like to wash the beans in a large mixing bowl and drain them in a colander a couple of times. Then soak them overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse the beans in the morning and and cover with fresh water in a large pot. Do not add salt for soaking or boiling. Simmer the beans until they are tender, approximately 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Drain the boiled beans and reserve the liquid. Put the beans back into the large mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. While the oven is heating, make the sauce. Chop the onion fine and cut the bacon slices into 1/2 inch pieces. In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat sauté the bacon until some of the grease has cooked out. The bacon should not be crisp. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the grease from the pan and add the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is limp but not brown. Add 1 cup of the bean water, the molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour it over the beans. Mix well and spoon the beans into the bean pot. Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans. Put the lid on the pot and put the pot into the preheated oven.

Bake for 3 to 4 hours until the beans are tender. About halfway through cooking,, stir the beans, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent them from getting too dry. Half an hour before the beans are done, you can remove the lid to allow the sauce to thicken slightly

Taste and add more maple syrup if you would like the beans a little sweeter.