Most people know that the Amish in our Northern Indiana community are know for helping those in need. One way they do that is by hosting benefit suppers. These suppers love to feature a dish called a "haystack." Ever heard of it?
Haystacks are frugal meals such that can be as simple or as massive as you want them to be - which makes them great for feeding lots of people at once (like at a benefit supper event). I tend to think of haystacks as a "use up the odds and ends in your fridge" kind of meal.
If you're a fan of piling your plate high with lots of different toppings, then you'll love an Amish haystack. Here are two ways to make a haystack (breakfast or supper), and where to get them in Shipshewana:
The breakfast haystack is unusual, but it is one of the most popular breakfast dishes here in Shipshewana. Most recipes start with a biscuit, adding on the toppings from there.
At the Shipshewana Auction Restaurant, the breakfast haystack consists of a half biscuit, topped with hash browns, ham, green peppers, onions, scrambled eggs, homemade gravy and shredded cheese.
I'm always a fan of biscuits and gravy - so I loved that the haystack is loaded with gravy. I also like cripsy texture of the hash browns...mix that with the green pepper and onion and I was in breakfast heaven! After eating this dish at the Auction Restaurant, I was full until dinner time. Talk about a lot of food!
Photo courtesy of: Shipshewana Auction Restaurant
Popular restaurants in Shipshewana to get a breakfast haystack:
Lunch or Supper Haystack
The lunch or supper haystack is kind of like a version of a taco salad, but with white cracker crumbs and rice as the base. Once again, haystack lunches or suppers are often served at fundraising benefits because they can feed large groups of people very easily and frugally.
There are many different ways to make a haystack (you can really go all out and add whatever you want), but here's a sample recipe, courtesy of Wilma, one of our Amish waitresses at the Auction Restaurant:
1. Start with a base
Start your haystack bowl with a base of white cracker crumbs or crushed Doritos.
2. Make your meat sauce
Brown some hamburger. Add some taco seasoning to it or combine it with a spaghetti sauce.
3. Add the starch
Most use white rice, or you could do noodles.
4. Pile on the toppings
Add chopped veggies (green peppers, onions, lettuce, etc), bacon bits, sunflower seeds, chips...whatever you want!
5. Finish with cheese sauce
Finally, add some warm, creamy cheese sauce to your haystack creation.
It's always good to finish your haystack supper with a slice of fresh homemade pie.
Where to get a lunch haystack in Shipshewana:
Although I am not sure of any sit-down restaurants that serve a dinner-style haystack, you can get a haystack dinner by visiting one of the Amish in-home dining locations like Hoosier Banquets or Yoder's Homstyle Cooking.
Have you ever tried a haystack? What did you think?
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