Some foods are definitely “comfort food,” and Swiss steak with gravy is one such perennial favorite. In fact, whenever I know my fifth son is coming home for a visit, I start watching for a good sale on swissed steaks, because I know he’ll be hoping I make some for him. “Swiss steak” isn’t really from Switzerland. In England and the Deep South it’s sometimes called “smothered steak.” The term refers to the the way it’s tenderized by pounding and piercing, which is known as “swissing.” I suppose you could take any cut of beef steak and “swiss” it, but I always buy it pre-swissed at the grocery store. Once your meat is swissed, it’s simple to turn into a savory dish that’s sure to please rain or shine, although I think it’s at its finest on a cool evening accompanied with some traditional sides, such as mashed potatoes, peas, and tossed salad (±bread). I probably serve it 5-10 times a year, and it’s always welcome at our table. So, if you’ve not discovered this easy meal, here’s how:
Savory Swiss Steak with Mushroom Gravy
1. In a large frying pan, add:
2 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak seasoning (or your favorite)
Heat until the butter is melted, then fry until all the veggies are starting to brown and become tender.
Add 1-2 pounds swiss-style steak (how much ever you want, I would say about 6 oz per person± depending on your appetites). To prepare the steak, coat it with flour on both sides. (If you place 1/2 or 1 cup of flour on a dinner plate, that will be more than enough, unless you really have a lot of steak. Just lay the steak on the floury plate and rub in the flour, then turn it over and rub flour on the other side. If you want, you can add the rest of the flour to the frying pan at that time or later, depending on how thick you like your gravy. If you add it, be sure to whisk it so there aren’t any lumps.) Salt and pepper both sides, then place it in the bottom of your frying pan under the veggies. Fry at a medium-high heat until it starts to brown, and then flip it over (making sure most of the veggies end up back up on top) and fry it until the other side is browned. At that point, add two cups of water. I turn the heat entirely off for about 2 minutes just to loosen anything that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan. Using a metal spatula, carefully scrape all the flour or other food that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan free, and gently stir everything until you’re satisfied that nothing will burn. Cover the pan and simmer everything for a half an hour or until completely tender. During that process, I check about every five minutes to flip the meat over and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. If the gravy seems to get too thick, add another 1-2 cups of water a little at a time as needed. Before you serve it, taste it, as you might want to add more salt and pepper. If it seems flat, you can also add 1 teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning salt (or your favorite). Obviously, the more steak, the more seasoning you’ll need, so you may not need to add anything, but it’s always worth checking!
“And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savory meat, such as his father loved” (Genesis 27:14). In Genesis 27, Rebekah used her culinary skills to trick her husband, which was a very bad idea! Not only did she end up having to part with her favorite son, Jacob (who left home to escape the wrath of his older brother), Rebekah never had the joy of seeing her son again on this earth, and she missed the blessing of watching her grandchildren growing up. Sad thoughts! Hopefully, we’ll use our cooking abilities to bless and nourish those we love!