Adapted from a recipe in the Hunger is the Best Sauce cookbook, published in 1944 by the Service League of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Sea Cliff, New York, this one-dish meal is a clever twist on the Sloppy Joe. The tender biscuit crust is perfect for soaking up the tomato-y beef filling.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 large celery ribs, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hot paprika
One 10 3/4-ounce can of condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
5 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup milk
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450°. Heat the oil in a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the celery and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook over moderately high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato soup, water and tomato paste until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and the celery seeds. Using a fork, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles small peas. Gently stir in the milk just until a soft dough forms.
Using 2 spoons, arrange tablespoon-size dollops of the dough all over the beef filling to within 1 inch of the edge of the skillet. Bake the beef pie for 20 minutes, or until the crust is browned and cooked through and the filling is bubbling. Let the pie stand for 10 minutes before serving. Invert onto a large, flat plate or serve straight out of the skillet.
Make Ahead: The beef filling can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature, then reheat in the cast-iron skillet before proceeding.
Wine Recommendation: A juicy, peppery, medium-bodied red from the Côtes-du-Rhône in France has the intensity and fullness to complement the tomato-beef pie's rich, creamy filling. Try the 1999 Guigal or the 1999 Domaine André Brunel Cuvée Sommelongue.
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