Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Swiss Steak

Last weekend I gave myself an early birthday present and drove to a church parking lot in Tualatin to pick up my order of a split half of beef from Crooked Gate Ranch. They raise about 40 steer each year - their beef is raised exclusively on managed pasture and never goes to a feedlot.

So when I got home, I unpacked 3 boxes (approximately 100 pounds) of grass-fed beef. I piled stacks of white-wrapped frozen meat haphazardly on all of my kitchen counters and tried to get a handle on what I'd purchased. Of course, there was a ton of hamburger - but there was also numerous chuck roasts, short ribs, rib steaks, t-bones and even a tenderloin. There were also 4 large packages of round steak, which is a lean, beefy cut that needs to be braised for hours to get it even the slightest bit tender.

Round steak is underrated. It's actually one of my favorite cuts, because it's just so cheap and versatile. You can shred it, make chicken fried steak or beef jerky with it (which was actually the very first thing I did - I pulled out my smoker and made a batch of jerky!) But one of my favorite recipes for round steak I got from my dad several years ago. It's called Swiss Steak, and it's one of those recipes that you can find in pretty much any old cookbook - and each version is slightly different. I don't know where my dad got his recipe, but it's a good one.

Swiss Steak
2lbs round steak
1 tbsp bacon grease or canola oil

1/4 cup flour
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Coat all sides of the round steak with the flour mixture. Using a meat mallet, pound as much flour into the meat as it can hold. Heat fat in a dutch over or large pan. Brown all sides of the meat, and then add:

1/4 cup Worcestershire
1 cup beef stock or water
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced

Cover meat and cook on low heat until tender - about 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat. Sometimes I add chopped tomato, sometimes not.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Hi I am a Photo Researcher and I have been looking for a picture that shows how Swiss Steak is made. I saw your picture with the pounding tool and I wondered if I might get permission to show it to the cooking show I work for (Cooks Country) and see if they might like to use it for a few seconds on television while the host (Christopher Kimball) talks about the history behind Swiss Steak. I would need to get a high quality digital scan of it from you. You would be given a credit at the end of the show if they did use it.
Thanks a lot.
Debby Paddock