August 13, 2008

Jen's Swiss Steak

I went out to my extra freezer this morning (it is out in our garage) and I saw that I had some cube steak in there from May. May!!!! It is currently August. Ugh.
I typically shop for meat on sale, then package it up with my trusty Food Saver, date, and freeze. I always adhere to the first-in/first-out rule, and I thought I had used up all the meat purchased prior to July. I was wrong. There, toward the top, was the cube steak from May...mocking me and my organizational skills. Sheesh. Obviously, my protein choice for tonight is a no-brainer.

This was my grandma's recipe, that she taught my mom, when my parents were first married back in the early 60's. My mom taught me how to make it when I was pregnant and having a mysterious craving (after not eating it for at least 12 years). We have always called it 'Swiss steak', but I am not sure if it represents true 'Swiss steak'...this is just my families version.
This is the first time this recipe has ever been written down, and since I am the one doing the writing, I am taking credit for it. Despite the fact that there are only 7 simple ingredients, this dish is a bit tricky to master. It has to be watched closely during preparation, but it does becomes easier once you get the hang of it. If done properly, the meat is tender and a sumptuous gravy magically appears.
Anyway, my family and I love it. It is total comfort food and I hope to pass it down someday.
I am going to make glazed carrots and garlic mashed potatoes (see previous post) to go with it. The gravy is a perfect match for mashed potatoes. This dish is traditional food at it's best!

Jen's Swiss Steak
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil
1 onion, sliced into thin strips
4 pieces of cube steak
1 cup of flour
salt to taste
pepper to taste
water (added in 2 cup increments)

1.) In a large skillet, heat oil on stove top over medium-high heat.

2.) Saute onion slices in oil until you see onions start to turn brown.

3.) While onions are browning, put flour in a shallow dish or plate.

4.) Remove cube steak from package, but do not dry (this will help the dredge stick to the meat).

5.) Salt and pepper both sides of cube steak generously and dredge in flour. Do not shake off excess flour since this will help form the gravy.

6.) Make room for meat in skillet by moving onions to the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon.

7.) Place floured, seasoned meat in skillet with onions and brown both sides of meat. Make sure there is a dark brown (but not black) crust on both sides of the meat. The browner the meat and onions mixture is, without being burnt, the more flavorful the gravy will turn out.

8.) Add 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let mixture vigorously simmer uncovered until reduced by two thirds. This is the tricky part, because you do not want the water to evaporate completely or the whole thing will burn...but you do want the mixture to thicken/reduce.

9.) Once water reduces by two thirds, add another two cups of water. You need to simmer the meat for a total of 1 hour so the meat gets tender. Keep adding 2 cups of water and let it reduce, as needed. I keep a full glass of water by the stove, and just watch it closely adding water every 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

10.) Upon the 1 hour mark, see how much water is in the skillet. If mixture is gravy consistency, pull off the heat and serve. If not, add one more batch of water and let it reduce down until a gravy consistency is obtained. Serve meat with gravy spooned over top.

1 comment:

rebekah said...

my mother used to make this all the time and put it over boil in bag rice. thanks for reminding me of it! i'm going to make it very soon.