Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garden Swiss Steak

With Wholewheat Pasta: Nontraditional and Yummy

Recipe adapted from Meals for One or Two

Swiss steak was all the rage in the 1950s. Our moms and grandmas made it, but today it’s distinctly out of fashion. And yet moist-cooking an inexpensive steak to tenderness is economical. The rich juices can be served over potatoes or noodles, making it a classic comfort food.  Slowly simmering Swiss Steak creates a voluptuous smell that permeates the senses long before dinner. And did I mention that it’s delicious? I’ve never blogged a beef recipe before, but Swiss Steak is worth celebrating. This recipe, from Mom’s cookbook, features the unusual addition of garden carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Closeup of Swiss Steak with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Carrots
Colorful Late Season Produce from the Garden
Round steak, sometimes known as London broil, varies considerably in thickness. ¾ inch thick is ideal. Thinner steaks aren’t “meaty” enough, and thicker steaks will look skimpy when plated. In my locale, both thicker and thinner steaks are more commonly available. Finding two smaller steaks (around 1 lb. apiece) rather than one large made it easier to buy meat of optimum thickness.

Frying Pan Filled with Garden Swiss Steak
Another Winning Recipe from a Fave Cookbook
The source for this recipe Meals for One or Two, is a 1978 publication by Better Homes and Gardens. (Estute readers will note that recipes such as Swiss Steak can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled.) Meals for One or Two is out of print, but still available, starting at only $.01 at Amazon. This thin volume contains such retro favorites as Cornish Hens with Cranberry Orange Sauce, Herbed Tomato Soup, Wild Rice Stuffed Fish, Salmon Loaf, and Baked Alaska. And while I wouldn’t say that any recipe is “to die for,” the easy Chicken Pot Pie would be worth a long walk on a cold night. Check it out!

Tenderizing Meat Mallet with Two Pieces of Steak After Pounding in Flour
Swissing: It's All About the Tenderizing Mallet
BTW, you would not find Swiss Steak in Switzerland, either now or in years past. Swissing is the process of softening fabrics and other materials by pounding or running through rollers. Tenderizing by pounding with a meat mallet is an integral part of making Swiss Steak, so don’t skip that step.

Swiss Steak and Veggies Garnished with Parsley
Garnished with In-Season Parsley
Garden Swiss Steak
serves 6-8

~2 lb. beef round steak, ¾ inch thick
2½ tbsp. all purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
a few grinds black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2½ cups beef broth, divided
1 tbsp. tomato paste (optional, added by Robin)
~7 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 – 2½ cups)
~4 small zucchini, in 3/8-inch slices (3½ – 4 cups)
 1¼ tsp. dried dillweed
salt and pepper
~4 medium tomatoes cut into wedges (2 – 2½ cups)
Parsley (optional garnish)

Cut meat into 6 – 8 serving-size pieces.

Mix together flour, salt, and pepper. Pound flour mixture thoroughly into meat using a tenderizing meat mallet.

Heat electric frying pan or skillet to 375 degrees F (medium high). Add olive oil and brown meat on one side (about 4 minutes). Flip the meat and add chopped onion, cooking together until browned, another 4 minutes or so.

Add 2 cups of beef broth and tomato paste to skillet. Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes.  Add carrots. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes.

Add zucchini and dillweed and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. If needed to submerge veggies, add ½ cup broth.  Simmer about 5 minutes longer, or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Add tomato wedges, cover, and heat through.  Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Simmering Meat with Bowls of Carrots, Zucchini, and Tomatoes
First the Meat, then the Veggies

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