Friday, September 12, 2008
Grandma Ett's Swiss Steak
No worries, I am not about to use a packet of gravy mix. I just thought that is was very funny to find that there are folks who can't deal with making something so fundamentally simple.
My entire childhood my grandmother made savory variations of this dish, all delicious and all fundamentally the same despite the fact that the cuts of meat would change, tomatoes would change from fresh to canned, seasoning would vary, but there was always an undercurrent of flavor that made it taste like Grandma's. Part of it was love, the other part was dried onions. No kidding, in later years she used Lipton's onion soup and I won't use it. As a result I lost a bit of the essence and stopped making the dish.
I have come up with a solution (dried onions, no kidding that was it) and a delicious homage to my grandmother. This can be cooked in a slow dutch oven and is equally comfortable spending 6 to 8 hours in a crock pot. The gravy makes itself and if you can mash a potato and add a nice serving of veg you will have one of the ultimate comfort foods.
2 lbs grass fed bone in chuck (or quite frankly any tough cut with some fat and bone)
salt and pepper
Beat your meat with a mallet or hammer, add salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Beat it a second time and put into a hot pan or dutch oven with some olive oil and butter to brown.
2 large onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups strong red wine (Malbec is great for this)
2 cups STRONG beef stock
2 finely chopped medium carrots
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 cup dried onion flakes
Remove your brown beef to a plate or a crock pot if that is where you will finish it. Toss in the liquids to deglaze the pan and throw everything else in stir and simmer. Either put the beef back in and cover baking in a slow(225) oven for 6 to 7 hours or finish in crock pot.
Taste the reduced gravy before serving and adjust seasoning if neccesary.
The beef will be meltingly tender, the sauce made for mashed potatoes, rice or buttered noodles. The leftovers will taste even better, IF there are any.
Grandma food with attitude.