Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Swiss Steak & Noodles
Swiss Steak - an American classic that has nothing to do with Switzerland. Instead, the term was an early 20th-Century word that had to do with tenderizing an otherwise tough (and frugal) cut of meat.
The way that works in this recipe is a combination of pounding the beef thin with a tenderizer mallet, and cooking it slowly with acidic tomatoes, which further breaks down the tough m,eat and transforms it into a rich, flavorful dish.
My grandmother and mother did this and I'm betting yours did, too. If you've never tried it, give it a try and I'll bet your family will have a new comfort dish that won't break the grocery budget.
(Note: I use a cooking bag for mine, but a lidded casserole dish works fine, too, of course. Just expect to have to do a bit of soaking and scrubbing)
As with so many everyday meals, this is quite variable by preference and what you have on hand - onions and mushrooms can be removed if you like, other veggies can be added as desired (try some frozen peas and carrots or some spinach) as long as you keep the tomatoes. You could even add some diced potatoes.
Spices can take you just about anywhere you like from Italian to Mexican to Middle Eastern - or stick to a good shake of salt and pepper to please your great-grandmother's palate. I'm not including specific spices here - what I do entirely depends on what I'm in the mood for that day.
Also, most recipes call for a bit of flour to thicken the sauce, but if you're rather not, it is still delicious and flavorful without it.
In other words - this isn't a recipe to fuss about. It's one to get a hearty dinner on the table using what you have. And goodness knows, we all need a few of those to keep on hand.
1 Tblsp flour
1.5 - 2 lbs round, flank or chuck steak (I used a London broil)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 pint sliced mushrooms
1 large can of diced roasted tomatoes
1 Tblsp. minced jarred garlic (or fresh)
1 Tblsp. Worchestershire sauce
Herbs & Spices to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 cup flour (optional)
1 Tblsp. flour (optional)
1 cooking bag (optional)
Open a cooking bag into a shallow baking pan, and sprinkle with 1 Tblsp. flour.
Cut the steak into serving portions, and pound thin. Season with salt and pepper.
Layer half the onions and half the mushrooms to the bag inside the pan, then lay out the tenderized steaks. Cover with the remaining vegetables.
Mix together tomatoes, Worchestershire, garlic and all seasonings, along with flour if desired. Pour this sauce over the top of the meat and veggies, coating as evenly as possible.
Leaving some airspace above the Swiss Steak, seal the bag according to manufacturer instructions, and stab the bag a few times with a knife to create air vents.
Bake at 325F for 2 hours or so - longer times at low temperatures will make this more tender.
Serve topped over rice, mashed potatoes or - as I like it, flat egg noodles and a seasonal vegetable.