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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak
Sometimes I get a craving for a throw-back meal...something retro.  As in, a meal that no matter the time or place it is served, it transports me right back into 1984.  Or thereabouts.  I'm sitting at the table wearing leg warmers, my shoe laces are lined with friendship pins and my arms are lined with jelly bracelets.  My Walkman is a permanent accessory on my pinstriped jeans, and the headphones are tinkling with the sounds of Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, and little orphan Annie.

The sound of mom or dad calling up the stairs would tear me away from choreographing a dance routine in the mirror, or staring dreamily at the pages ripped from Bop and Teen Beat that lined every inch of my walls; I was contemplating who was cuter - Sean or Mackenzie Astin, Wil Wheaton or River Phoenix, Rob Lowe or Tom Cruise, Jon Bon Jovi or ...yeah, Jon Bon Jovi.  

So, I'd trot down the stairs and into the kitchen or dining room and scooch in my chair.  If it wasn't pasta or a casserole, it was some form of meat on one third of the plate, a starch on another third, and veggies on the last third.  Mashed potatoes and peas were my favorite.  I liked piling my peas onto my potatoes, and hopefully having some sort of gravy or sauce with the meat to plunge into the middle.

It could be pork chops, or chicken.  It could be meatloaf, or orange roughy.  Or it could be Salisbury Steak, smothered in an rich, oniony gravy.  That right there is not simply retro, it is also comfort food.  And it makes me want to blow the dust off of the Goonies and Stand By Me tapes (that would be VHS) that are stashed in the basement.

Salisbury Steak
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: entree nut-free sugar-free beef onions American

Ingredients (serves 8)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ~1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced (~4 cups)
  • 4 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
Whisk the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the cold beef broth together in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine beef, bread crumbs, eggs, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce, half of the Worcestershire, 2 teaspoons of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything thoroughly. Divide into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a flat oval-shaped patty, about 1/4-inch thick. Set on a tray lined with wax paper. Season both sides of each patty lightly with salt and pepper.
Salisbury Steak
Place a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the olive oil to the skillet and half of the beef patties; cook until browned on one side and then flip the patties over and brown on the other side, ~2 minutes per side. Remove and set on a plate, then repeat with remaining olive oil and beef patties. Remove them to the same plate. Cover with foil.

Add the onions to the grease left in the skillet and cook until they start to caramelize lightly, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining beef broth, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire to the skillet and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring back to a boil. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper, to taste.

Nestle the meat patties (shingle in a circle and set a couple in the center) and any juices that have accumulated on the plate back into the pan with the sauce. Cook until the meat is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened, ~5 minutes.

Serve the Salisbury steaks with mashed potatoes and peas, there will be plenty of sauce for smothering over everything.

-adapted from Michael Symon's 5 in 5
Salisbury Steak
Okay, so Salisbury Steak is more than a retro fix - it's also quick, easy, and delicious.  Try adding it to your weeknight menu.