As I’ve mentioned in the past, Pinterest frequently decides what it thinks I’m interested in, and sends suggestions to me. The suggestions are often inexplicable and confusing. For a while, for example, I was getting pin after pin about how to build a chicken coop. I don’t want to build a chicken coop. I also don’t want to style my hair in an angled bob, mostly because I’d have to grow my hair for two to three years in order to cut it in such a style. I’d sooner shave my head.
Lately, however, I have been getting numerous suggested pins for Swiss steak. And for once, Pinterest got it right.
I frankly had forgotten all about Swiss steak. It was on Mom’s regular meal rotation. I recall liking it very much, especially if I could dip the meat into mashed potatoes. The tomatoes provided a tangy gravy that I loved. But she must not have had a recipe, because it certainly wasn’t in her recipe box upon which I rely to make her dishes, and peruse frequently.
Though I hadn’t given it a single thought as a child, I began wondering why it was called Swiss steak. My paternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland, and I don’t recall Grammie making Swiss steak. I’ve visited many German restaurants in my life, and nope, no Swiss steak at any of them.
So I googled it. It appears no one really knows how it got its name, though most agree it didn’t originate in Switzerland. The best suggestion I read was that it came from the word swissing, which means pounding fabric to make it flat. Since Swiss steak involves tenderized (or pounded) meat, it makes a certain degree of sense. Well, a teeny-tiny bit of sense.
The weather has turned cold in Colorado, making it finally feel like fall. If I sound sentimental, just wait. Some weather forecasters are predicting snow, and then I will go back to just being grumpy.
But cold weather makes me in the mood for comfort food. You know, like Swiss steak. When the house is chilly and it’s even colder outside, running the oven for a few hours in order to braise a tough piece of meat into submission is a great idea.
So is making bread, which I did on Saturday. Breadmaking is a challenge to me. I have never been quite satisfied with my result. Until Saturday, that is. My white bread turned out perfectly. The outside was crusty and the inside was soft, with a perfect crumb. It had a nice yeasty, slightly sweet flavor, thanks to the addition of honey. (And don’t worry, I didn’t waste a drop of Dee’s Bees Honey on my bread; instead, I bought inexpensive store brand honey. I will put Dee’s Bees Honey ON the bread instead of IN the bread.)…..
And, by the way, despite the fall weather, I didn’t make a single pumpkin spice anything. But I did bake some raspberry cream cheese danish, thanks to store-bought puff pastry…..
By the way, at the end of the day, out of all of the numerous Swiss steak recipes fed to me by Pinterest, I chose to use a recipe by Alton Brown, as it seemed as close to my mother’s recipe as I could recall…..
4 cube steaks
2 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. dried oregano
1 T. worcestershire sauce
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Season the steaks on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour into a pie pan. Dredge the pieces of meat on both sides in the flour mixture.
Add enough vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the steaks to the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides, approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove the steaks to a plate and repeat until all of the steaks have been browned.
Remove the last steaks from the pot and add the onions, garlic, and celery. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Next add the tomatoes, paprika, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth and stir to combine. Return the meat to the pot, submerging it in the liquid. Cover the pot and place it in the oven on the middle rack. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Nana’s Notes: This is basically Alton Brown’s version of Swiss steak. I used cube steaks that have already been tenderized, whereas he used bottom round and tenderized it himself, mostly because he is Alton Brown. I only used 2 cube steaks, but left everything else the same. It took 2 hours. We ate it over mashed potatoes. Yum. Welcome to cold-weather cooking!