Thursday, November 18, 2010

Swiss Steak with Tomatoes

When I was young, my mom used to make Swiss Steak with a brown gravy-type sauce with onions.  Since I didn't like onions (or was just being picky), I didn't like it.  Even though I grew up and now like cooked onions, I still have a mental block for that kind of Swiss Steak.  When I ate Swiss Steak with a tomato sauce, I decided to try it at home since I enjoyed it immensely. 

Most of my recipes do not have actual measurements - I throw in a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that.  An eye of newt and a toe of bat - OH! Sorry - Halloween is over.  ;)
Anyway, back to the recipe.  I was talking about measurements and amounts - to me a recipe is just a guideline not something set in stone, so feel free to adjust it to your liking.

Many Swiss Steak recipes use round steak which is great but when my boys were growing up, they were bottomless pits.  Blade steak was the cheapest cut plus seemed to be on sale quite regularly, so I would stock up and freeze them individually so I could use as many as needed on any given day.

For this recipe, you do not have to thaw the steak - cooking it from a frozen state works just as well.  It makes a nice meal if you find out at noon that you are having company for supper and have no meat thawed.

Here I am using two very large steaks because I am expecting company.  Usually one would do so I'll give recipe amounts as if I was cooking one steak.  I cook them in my large oval roaster so I have room to turn the steak without slopping the sauce.

Chop/slice one onion - I like the pieces a bit larger so I cut the onion in quarters and slice it that way. 

Chop 3 or 4 stalks of celery.  I try to chop the ones that have leaves as I find that adds texture to the sauce but it is not necessary.

 Sprinkle steak on all sides with spices.  I usually use pepper, seasoning salt, paprika.  Be generous as this will be seasoning the sauce as well.  Layer the chopped vegetables under and between the steaks.  I add a couple pinches of parsley flakes as well.

Mix a couple of Oxo cubes in 2 cups hot water to dissolve.  I use the reduced salt beef bullion powder - bulk if I can find it.  Pour this over the steaks. 

I used fresh tomatoes because I still have them on hand.  You can use canned tomatoes just as easily.  

Process the fresh tomatoes.  You can skin them if you want but I don't. 

Pour the tomatoes on all sides of the steak - under, between and on top.

Cook at 350F for several hours.  Every hour or so I turn the steak over so all sides are in the sauce.  As time goes on the steak starts to fall apart and the sauce thickens.

I serve it with rice and usually peas as a vegetable.  (My boys loved peas or peas and carrots in rice.)  The sauce is very tasty spooned over the rice.  A green salad finishes off the meal nicely.  I usually serve up the larger pieces of steak and leave the smaller fattier ones for later.  My chickens love the fatty leftovers. 

I know most Swiss Steak recipes use flour to thicken the sauce, but in my recipe, the sauce reduces as it cooks.  The steak needs time to cook well since it is a tougher cut.  The tomato also helps tenderize the steak as does cooking it in the liquid.

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