Ever just want something from your childhood? A super craving of sorts? It happened today and the craving was for the old fashioned American Classic Blue Plate Special, The SALISBURY STEAK. A little history here. Believe it or not back in the late 1800’s a doctor named James Salisbury
had some ideas about the types of foods that are bad for the human body and what was good for it. His theory was that RED MEAT eaten three times a day followed by glasses of hot water were the way to glorious health. Starches and vegetables he believed were converted into toxins and should only be eaten in small amounts. Hmmmm…I guess nothing has changed since FAD diets relying on complete removal of one or many food groups and heavy intake of another will always be part of our culture. The original/authentic recipe for the 3 times a day steak was to use an amount of ground lean meat formed into a steak like shape and broiled. That’s it. Somewhere along the line a host of ingredients was added to the mix and even other vegetables and a brown gravy. Surely somewhere in your past you may remember, fondly or not, this box in your freezer.
As a child growing up in a home where 95% of everything served to us was from scratch it was like a holiday or treat when we got my mother to break down and ” OK, just this one time..” buy a Swanson Salisbury Steak dinner. I freely admit, I love meatloaf too. Times and taste change, we mature, sometimes our palates do as well and that Swanson dinner isn’t tasting too good to me anymore. Now I make my own. Tonight I decided to do some research just to compare the recipes out there with mine or with ideas I was thinking of incorporating (yes, each meal gets that much thought into it, LOL). When I Googled SALISBURY STEAK the first one up was a Five Star Rated recipe on the Food Network website by the lovely yet criminally insane infront of a stove Sandra Lee. Her recipe scared the life out of me.
The absolute lack of food responsibility by Food Network posting that and handing it 5-stars just killed me. Included in this SalisburySteakaggedon were repetitive layers of processed ingredients, all loaded with salt, sugar, fat, yet all performing the same function in a recipe. Do you add 4 types of sugar to the average recipe? 4 types of fats? I didn’t think so. The only flavor you are left with is salt and that food lab iinduced good feeling your supposed to texturally feel when eating it. Ok, here is the link for you to make your own judgment on and see what it is I’m talking about: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/salisbury-steak-with-mushroom-gravy-recipe/index.html
Enough about Sandra and her tasty treats…let’s cook…for the record..I tried to incorporate the flavors I remembered from those TV dinner Salsbury Steak meals but using what nature has offered to us to get the job done…This should make enough for 5 diners. Dice 1/2 of an onion, 1 small cubanelle pepper or green pepper, 1 clove garlic minced..(keep the onion and pepper dice to a small even dice for even cooking), 2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce, 1 1/2 tsp. English Dry mustard, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/8 cup Rolled or non-Instant Oats (Oatmeal), 1 large egg, beaten, 1 tsp. Bell’s seasoning (which can be found, especially around the Fall holidays in the herb section) , 1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin. Mix this all up together and form into oval patties about 1/2 inch thick. keep covered until ready to cook. Use the other 1/2 of that onion for the gravy..slice it , slice 1 small cubanelle (just so much more flavorful than a green bell) or a small green bell, 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced…in a large pan heat 1 tbs. of canola oil, gently saute’ the sliced vegetables, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. After about 8-10 minutes, they should be soft and nicely cooked. Remove them to a platter. Now…in the same pan, add just a few more drops of oil and fry the steaks for 5 minutes on each side.
if no Bell’s Seasoning available, not a gamechanger..simplyuse 1 tsp of Thyme.
Make sure they brown nicely. IT’S FLAVOR! Remove the steaks and place them on a platter, cover with foil. Add 3 tbs. of unsalted butter to the pan, then when it’s melted, add 4 tbs. of sifted unbleached flour stirring to pull those bits off the bottom of the pan. We are making a little roux here. Let this cook for 2 minutes, then add 1/8 cup of Beefstock, homemade, YES PLEASE! or use a good boxed low sodium 99% fat free brand, there are plenty out there today, the cans are generally higher in fat and sodium. Stir well to incorporate all the roux and bring to a boil. Add 3/4 of the sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms..then add steaks. Lower to a simmer and let the liquid reduce by almost 1/2, If you like your stuff really saucy, reduce it less…by the way, check for seasonings at the very end and not while you are cooking. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, a few drops of Worchestershire will add a little more flavor. This takes about 10 minutes to finish off the steaks in the sauce.
Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over then and top with the reserved peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Lots of flavor, sort of a Salisbury steak idea meets the Southern tradition of “smothered” meats.
Unlike Dr.Salisbury prescription for a bland broiled steak 3 times a day with a hot water chaser (you would definitely lose weight because after one day of that you’d not eat for 2 months!), this recipe adds a host of vegetables to it, uses a leaner grade of meat, the oatmeal has got to have some benefits…don’t you feel healthier already? lol…Happy Cooking friends..serve with roasted potatoes, or mashed, and maybe steamed carrots since there is a green vegetable X2 in the recipe.