Swiss Steak

April 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

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This, my dears, is no haute cuisine here. A farm food in its purest form, Swiss steak is a method that is designed to tenderize a tough, cheap cut of meat, such as round steak, by pounding it with a mallet and braising it for a period of time in a flavorful sauce (a brief search by Google revealed that people also use a cut called cube steak to this end, but I never have). I like to have this one in my arsenal though, just for those few round steaks that always seem show up at the bottom of my freezer after all the good cuts have been eaten (note that round steak can also be used for making homemade jerky). The braising sauce makes a flavorful gravy that goes very nicely with mashed (or even baked) potatoes, which is how I like to have mine. I think some people also serve it with rice.

Anyhow, if you feel like giving it a try, here’s what to do:

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Get yourself a round steak (or, for some, accept the fact that one is in front of you),

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Pound it lightly on both sides with a kitchen mallet (use the poky side, not the smooth one),

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And drench it well in flour on both sides.

P1080025Now melt some butter and oil in a skillet (butter for flavor, oil because it has a higher smoking point) over medium-high heat until the butter is beginning to turn brown. You want it nice and hot.

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Add the steak to the skillet.

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I like to sprinkle some McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning on top. It’s my go-to spice when making many meat dishes – it’s like nothing else. Of course, you can always use plain old salt and pepper. Or maybe that would be fleur de sel and freshly ground gourmet pepper blend for you. Me, I’m never without a jar of this in my pantry.

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Just sprinkle it on top, about so.

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Once the steak has browned on the bottom, flip it and brown it on the other. Don’t forget to season it! Remove from heat, and set aside.

Next, we are going to make our braising sauce.

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Chop a medium onion and a couple of carrots.

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Melt an ample chunk of butter in an enamel dutch oven or some other non-reactive pot (do not attempt this in a cast-iron skillet – tomatoes and wine we’ll be adding shortly tend to react with the metal and take on a distinctly metallic flavor. It ain’t pretty).

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Saute the vegetables until translucent, and stir in a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.

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Pour in a little red wine (1/2 C or so), remove half of the sauce to a separate dish, and reserve.

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Place the steak on top of the remaining sauce in the pot.

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Plop the rest of the sauce on top of the steak.

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Now pop open a quart can of tomatoes and puree them (I’ve canned mine already pureed – I find this to be the best way to can them! Extremely convenient, and leaves me lots of room for creative freedom with future sauces.)

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Now just pour the crushed tomatoes right on top.

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Pour in a little bit more wine, cover, and bring to a simmer on the stove-top. Then bake it, covered, for two hours or until fork-tender, in a 325 degree oven. Serve with mashed potatoes or your side of choice, with the gravy ladled on top of everything.

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And I mean everything.

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Of course, it never hurts to sprinkle some chopped parsley on top, especially if, like Jacob, you have a strong need for color balance in your food presentation.

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This baking temperature, by the way, is perfect for Ree Drummond’s “baked fudge” – a fabulous, versatile dessert, which can be either melt-in-your-mouth brownies or a decadent (we’re all about decadence here) brownie pudding if you shorten the baking time. Try making it with dulce de leche sometime. To die for! And for all the intense chocolate flavor, this is affordable to boot. Not counting that stick of butter. But, at least, it’s not a pound of chocolate. This is a good opportunity to make the two dishes together, is all I’m saying.

Swiss Steak

  • 1 round steak (cube steak can also be used, but you are on your own here)
  • flour, for drenching
  • McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning (Or salt and pepper. But you don’t know what you are missing!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • butter and oil, for sauteing
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 T tomato paste
  • 1 qt crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3/4 to 1 C red wine
  • parsley, for garnish

Pound the steak lightly with a textured (or what you call that) side of a kitchen mallet. Drench in flour. Heat butter and oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the butter begins to brown. Add the steak, and brown on both sides, seasoning the side facing up in the process. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the braising sauce: Sautee onions and carrots in butter until translucent and stir in tomato paste and wine. Remove half of the mixture to a separate bowl. Place the steak on top of the remaining mixture in the pot, and spread the rest on top of the steak. Pour in blended tomatoes and wine. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then bake, covered, in a 325-degree oven for two hours or until tender. You’ll find that, by this point, the sauce will have thickened into gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes and ladle the gravy over everything. Garnish with parsley. You may now officially start feeling thrifty. You earned it.

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