Friday, January 14, 2011
I know what you're thinking. Salisbury steak is just an entrée in a TV dinner, right? Or maybe it's just some old-fashioned meal that your parents were forced to eat when they were kids? That's what I thought too. I had heard of it, but I'm almost certain I'd never eaten it. It's usually made with ground beef, which is mixed together with onion and maybe some other seasonings, and formed into the shape of a steak. It's usually served with a brown sauce or gravy of some kind.
Another way to make Salisbury steak is to start with cube steak. Incidentally, that's how I came across Alton Brown's recipe, when I was searching for what to do with this thin, tough cut of meat. Not that cube steak is that uncommon, but it's definitely not something I've ever bought before. That's why I like buying mixed cuts of beef in bulk - not only does it save money in the long run, but we get to try new things! Cube steak is usually made from top sirloin or top round and has been tenderized with an electric meat tenderizer at the butcher (that's why the surface is covered with little "cubes").
I only took one package of cube steak out of the freezer, so we only made half the recipe. It was really good! Actually, it was pretty funny, the first thing I said when I took a bite was, "this tastes like hamburger". Well that makes sense, seeing as that part of the cow is usually made into ground beef.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish for this meal because they soak up the delicious brown sauce nicely, but macaroni and cheese is also a common choice. For a quick vegetable side, I defrosted some peas on the stove with just the tiniest pat of butter, and salt and pepper. Peas are one of Joe's favorite vegetables, and they add a nice splash of color to the plate as well.
I still have two more packs of cube steak in the freezer - what should I make?
adapted from Alton Brown - I'm just here for the food
Note: I say this recipe serves four, but 1/2 a pound of meat is a lot for me, so if you are watching calories and portions, just eat half to three-quarters of the steak and save the rest for leftovers.
4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
Flour for dredging
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced Lyonnaise-style (that means thinly sliced lengthwise, from root to tip, rather than crosswise)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 pound brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup beef or chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 275 F. Season the steaks and the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the steaks in the flour, and shake to remove the excess.
Heat an oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil. When melted and hot, add the steaks, two at a time, and brown for about 4 minutes on each side (they will finish cooking in the oven, you only want to sear them for now). Add more butter and oil when flipping to prevent them from sticking (I failed to heed this advice, and had major stickage. Luckily, I just scraped the pan like crazy during deglazing time and it just made the sauce that much more flavorful). Remove the steaks to a plate and set aside.
Pour off any grease from the pan and add the remaining butter. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan. Saute until cooked down and caramelized. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom. Add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and stock, stirring to combine. Return the steaks to the pan, cover, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.