Swiss Steak. You cannot get more comforting than Swiss Steak. This old family favourite has been gracing my table for over 40 years now. It is a recipe which my mother used to make for us when I was growing up, and one which I continued to make after I got married and started a family of my own. My children still request it when they come to visit, and I am more than happy to make it for them! This is my favourite kind of recipe. A tried and true recipe which has been putting smiles on the faces of my family for generations!
So what is Swiss Steak? It is a delicious entrée composed of pounded pieces of steak, in a tomato gravy filled with onions and cooked together slowly until the steak is fork tender and the gravy thick and lush. I can guarantee that you will not need a knife to cut into this steak when it is done. It will positively melt like butter in your mouth!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO COOK SWISS STEAK
Once again I say, this is pure and simple ingredients put together in a most delicious way.
|beef round steak, (braising steak) cut into serving sized pieces|
|salt and black pepper to taste|
|garlic, peeled and crushed|
|2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced|
|4 cups of canned chopped tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained|
|Hot sauce (optional)|
As you can see there is nothing out of the ordinary in this list. I like to use beef round steak for this, but you can use any kind of steak that you might use for braising. This recipe is guaranteed to turn even the toughest steak into a meltingly tender, mouth watering piece of meat!
HINTS AND TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST SWISS STEAK
I can promise you if you follow all of my hints and tips, you will end up with a steak dinner your family is going to love, love, LOVE!
- Read through the recipe several times to familiarise yourself with any ingredients, or equipment you might need to use, also any steps and methods you will need to use. This simple step can help to prevent you from making any costly errors as you go along.
- Assemble any tools, dishes, and ingredients before you start. This can help to prevent you from leaving an important and vital ingredient out of the recipe.
- Trim any excess fat, sinew, gristle and bone from the steaks and discard. Your family will not want to be eating any of that. I find it makes for a most unpleasant texture in the mouth. Get rid of it.
- Use a good quality of canned tomatoes, in tomato juice and do not drain them. I use whole Italian Plum Tomatoes, that I crush with my hands. This gives the gravy a fabulous texture and taste.
- Do not be afraid to be somewhat generous with your salt and pepper when seasoning your steak. I like to use coarse pepper and fine sea salt.
- Cut your steak into serving sized pieces.
- You will need to pound a quantity of flour into the steak. You can use either the side of a bread plate to do this, or a meat pounder. You will want to pound as much flour into the steak as the steak can absorb. This method really tenderises the meat. I sprinkle it on a little at a time, flipping it over, pounding and repeating until the steak has taken in all of the flour that it can. Try not to tear the meat. You will want to pound the steak until it is approximately half the thickness you began with.
- I find that a mixture of oil and butter is best for browning the steak. A bit of oil enables you to brown the steaks at a higher temperature without the butter burning. The butter adds a lovely layer of flavour to the gravy.
- Do not crowd the pan when you are browning your steaks. If you crowd the pan they will stew instead of brown. You do want to stew the steak after, but not yet. For now you want nicely browned pieces of steak with a nice colour.
- Peel your onions and cut them in half lengthwise. I find this gives the perfect size of onions for the gravy. That way you get half moons when you cut them crosswise. Do not cut them too thin. You want some texture with these, and the long slow cooking might make them disintegrate if you cut them too thinly.
- I only use white cooking onions for this dish. Red onions will bleed too much colour into the gravy which can be unappealing.
- I use one clove of garlic. If your family is very fond of garlic, you can use two. Make sure it is finely minced.
- Do not be afraid to adapt the recipe and make it your own. If your family enjoys peppers, feel free to add a handful of sliced peppers. Sliced mushrooms also make a great addition. You can brown these at the same time as you are softening the onions.
- I use Worcestershire sauce as an additional layer of flavour, but balsamic vinegar also works well. You want something which is a bit acidic which also helps to break down the fibres in the meat and tenderise it.
- You will need to simmer the steak in the tomato gravy for several hours to tenderise the steak fully. Check it from time to time to make sure that the gravy is not boiling down too much. If you think it is, add a bit of boiling stock or water to thin it out a bit.
- Make sure that you simmer the steak, rather than boil it. Boiling the steak may toughen it. Low and slow is the key to perfection.
HOW TO MAKE SWISS STEAK
Peel and slice your onions. I find this is easiest if I cut the onions in half lengthwise first and then cut them crosswise into half-moons. Mince the garlic and set aside with the onions.
Season the pieces of steak all over with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle with some flour and pound the flour into the steak using a meat pounder or the side of a bread and butter plate. Keep doing this on both sides of the pieces of steak, flipping, flouring, and pounding until no more flour can be absorbed. This is what makes the meat meltingly tender.
Melt the butter and canola oil together in a large deep skillet. Once the butter begins to foam, it is time to add the steak.
Brown the pounded and floured pieces of steak in the hot fat on both sides, working in batches until all of the meat is browned.
Remove the browned steak to a plate as it is done. Set aside.
Add the onions to the pan drippings and sauté until they are just beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and hot sauce if desired.
Return the steak to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, submerging the steak fully in the tomato sauce.
Cover tightly and simmer over a low heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours at which time the steak will be very tender and the sauce nicely thickened.
Check it periodically to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan. If you think that it needs more, feel free to add a bit of beef stock or hot water.
Simmer the steak, covered tightly for 1 ½ to 2 hours. The steak is done when the meat is fork tender and the gravy is nice and thick.
Serve hot with some of the gravy spooned over top of each serving.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING SWISS STEAK
This is a fairly hearty dish. Pure comfort food and it calls for comfort food accompaniments. You cannot get much more comforting than mashed potatoes. I like to make a little dip in mine to hold even more of that delicious gravy! I also like to serve a green vegetable on the side. The colour goes so well with the colour of the steak and the gravy, creating a most appealing plate of food! Salads go well and for the heartier eaters you might want to add some crusty bread so that they have something to sop up all of that delicious gravy with. They will not want to miss a scrap of it!
Just look at how tender meat it. You can seriously cut it with a fork, and that lush gravy is to die for. Whenever I serve this to my husband he thinks he has died and gone to heaven!
This is an entrée that also freezes very well. Pack it into freezer containers or bags, leaving some head space in individual or multi servings, ready to pull out when you are pressed for time. You can also make this ahead of time and just gently reheat it in a saucepan when you are ready to get supper on the table.
I really hope that I have inspired you to want to cook this delicious, homey comfort meal for your family. I am sure it is destined to become a favourite in your household as well! Simple and delicious works for me every time!
- 1 ½ pounds of beef round steak, cut into serving sized pieces
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 TBS canola oil
- 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cups of canned plum tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- A splash of hot sauce (optional)
- Season the pieces of steak all over with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour and pound the flour into the steak using the side of a bread and butter plate. Keep doing this on both sides of the pieces of steak until no more flour can be absorbed. This is what makes the meat meltingly tender.
- Melt the butter and canola oil together in a large deep skillet. Brown the pounded and floured pieces of steak in the hot fat on both sides, working in batches until all of the meat is browned, and removing to a plate as it is done.
- Add the onions to the pan drippings and sauté until they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds then pour in the tomatoes, along with their juices, and the Worcestershire sauce. I like to break the tomatoes up roughly with my hands.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and hot sauce if desired. Return the steak to the pan, submerging it in the tomato sauce.
- Cover tightly and simmer over a low heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours at which time the steak will be very tender and the sauce nicely thickened. Check it periodically to make sure there is enough liquid in the pan. If you think that it needs more, feel free to add a bit of beef stock or hot water.
This recipe is by no means rigid or set in stone. You can add your own twist to it. Perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar, some chili sauce, or a splash of tomato ketchup. I sometimes add sliced peppers, which I sauté along with the sliced onion.
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.