Every Tuesday I choose a different a friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe.
Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor
Today's Tuesday Tutor: My Friend Al
Selected Recipe: Swiss Steak
Al's blog is not a food blog - it's more of a candid "day in the life of" journal. No crazy giveaways, no food challenges, no fancy photography. Just good honest blogging - which really seems to be a lost art form for most of us. However, if you want to check out Al's blog, you will need to sign-up for a Xanga account first...
If you search my recipe index with a discerning eye, you will undoubtedly notice one big glaring hole: I haven't shared any beef recipes. Do I have some prejudice against all-American red meat? Not really - I've just never been a huge fan of beef. Maybe it's all the chewing of the meat or all the unnecessary fat packed in with the protein. Or more likely, it's because I really don't know how to cook it.
My friends all know I have troubles with beef, no matter the medium. My meatballs fall apart, my hamburgers are mush, my stew meat is tough, and my steaks - well, I've never made a steak but I'd to assume it would be terrible! Thus, when Al tagged me on Facebook in a series of photos documenting his legendary Swiss Steak recipe, I decided it was time to bravely venture (or tiptoe quietly) into beef unknown. The best part? This steak was easy, flavorful, comforting - and not the least bit chewy!
|Before touching the steaks, I prepped everything first. I stared my sifting 1/2 of flour into|
a dish for dredging. A pie plate or quiche dish works well...
|I also sliced two medium yellow onions - Al wasn't specific on how much onion would be|
appropriate, but I love onion so I went with my instinct for two
|I cut my steak into good sized chunks. These will be flattened during the tenderizing process|
and will cook down considerably during the 3 hour simmer
|After bashing thoroughly with my stick rolling pin, the meat is tenderized and my|
apartment neighbors are terrorized ;)
|Al's instructions said to sprinkle the seasoned flour over the meat, but in order to better contain|
the mess, I chose to dredge the meat in the dish instead. Really work in the seasoning with
|Once the meat is fully coated, sprinkle a little extra seasoning flour over each piece of meat|
In a further step, you will tenderize with your rolling pin or mallet a second time
|Before I finished tenderizing the steaks, I heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy|
enameled cast iron dutch oven. Al used pans, but this worked well for me
|I sauteed my onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat until they were just starting to soften|
|To be sure I got a really nice sear on the meat and developed good color, I removed|
most of the onions before added the steaks
|My reserved onions|
|I beat the seasonings into the meat for a second time. Make sure to flip the steaks and beat|
both sides to ensure the seasoning mixture really gets into the meat
|Then I added the steaks into the hot dutch oven. You really want your pan hot before|
adding the steak - you should hear an immediate loud sizzle when the steak touches the pan
|After browning one side of the meat, flip and repeat on the second side.|
This took about 3 minutes on each side
|Once the browning is complete, add enough water to cover the steaks. DO NOT OVERFILL|
|I used a bench scraper to get up most of the leftover flour on the board - although much of mine|
was still neatly contained in the dredging dish
|All that left-over seasoned flour goes right into the pan to thicken and create a lovely sauce|
|At this point, I also tipped back in my reserved onions. If you do not want your onions to|
completely break down during the 3-hour simmer, you can hold onto the onions until
the last hour of cooking, then add at that point
|The toughest part is waiting 3 hours while the meat simmers. Make sure to simmer uncovered|
and stir the meat once every 30 minutes or so to help prevent everything from sticking to the
bottom of the pan. Here's a shot after 1 hour of simmering...
|After 2 hours of simmering...|
|I decided to add some sliced baby bella mushrooms to my sauce|
|I used one pint of mushrooms and for my sauce it was the perfect amount|
|After 3 hours of simmer, the Swiss steaks are finally ready to serve|
|I served my steak alongside roasted root vegetables and cauliflower/potato puree.|
It turns out, the sauce for the Swiss steaks makes a mighty tasty gravy!
Thoughts while scarfing...
- This recipe is proof you don't need an expensive cut of beef to arrive at a tender and delicious ending - the secret is all in the prep (all that pounding of the meat) and the long but gentle cook time. For those of you who love slow-cookers, I envision this could be easily converted into an 5-hour, hands-free slow-cooked recipe
- If you don't want to buy the seasonings Al and I have used, you can make a fair approximate by mixing celery salt, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, sweet paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and a little dried parsley and basil
- Despite the delicious flavors, melt-in-your-mouth meat and rich sauce, this really is not a terribly unhealthy meal, especially if you pair it with healthful sides like a hearty greens salad, roasted vegetables, or mashed potato/cauliflower puree. There's no butter, no cream and lots of delicious onions
- You probably don't want to prepare this after the kids go to bed - smacking the meat with a tenderizer is ridiculously noisy and your kids (and neighbors) may come running to confirm that you finally (as expected) have gone insane