As you may know, I pack The Boy’s lunch for school most days. One too many days of elementary school nachos led me to realize that the best way for me to get wholesome food in his gullet was to send it myself. When we made that decision, we allowed him to choose one or two days a week of school lunch as a “treat.” Of course there were a few pizza or taco days, but he often chose the Salisbury Steak day. There is no doubt he is my child.
Salisbury steak is and has always been one of my guilty pleasures. Not that it’s terribly bad for you, but just, well, my experience with Salisbury steak was basically school lunch as well. I even like crappy Salisbury steak. I’ll buy TV dinners for chrissake just for the Salisbury steak with that gummy orange mac and “cheese.” So when The Boy switched schools a few years back, the cafeteria at the new school was just abysmal. So much worse than you can imagine. I went for a couple of parent meals and the food was barely edible. The Boy very rarely chose to buy his lunch at all and he began to miss his old beefy friend. About mid year the first year at the new school, he asked if I might make it for him. I had never tried it and we went through a few recipes before I came up with something just right.
Salisbury steak is, essentially, an individual meatloaf that is seared in a skillet and then simmered in a savory gravy. I like meatloaf. I like gravy. Win-win. I offered to cook dinner for my in-laws once and told them I’d be making Salisbury steak. Turns out it’s one of my FIL’s favorites as well. But hardly anyone makes it at home. Weird, right? So give this a try. I think you and your family will be comfortably stuffed and happy.
Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
For the Steak:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- T butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 C bread crumbs (I prefer panko)
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 3 T parsley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 t coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
For the Gravy:
- 1 T butter
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced or diced as desired
- 2 small or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (if you can’t find a shallot, use about 1/3 C sweet onion)
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- 2 T all purpose flour
- about 2 C low sodium beef broth
- a splash (maybe 1 t) Worcestershire sauce
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
To make your steaks, melt 1T butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions with a pinch of salt until very soft and browning slightly, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Pour onion mixture into a large bowl to cool for a moment. Add remaining steak ingredients to bowl and combine well without overmixing. Form into 4 patties (I like to make oval shapes but you can go round if you want) and set aside for a moment.
Wipe out your skillet and add 2 T butter over medium high heat. Place steaks evenly around pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until nicely browned, adding more butter if needed. Set aside. They won’t be fully cooked yet and that’s fine. They’ll finish in just a little while.
If the pan is really gunky, wipe it out again and melt in 1 T butter into pan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and saute until translucent and softened. Add mushrooms and cook, adding more butter if needed, and stirring often until slightly browned and most moisture evaporated. Stir in thyme leaves and cook for one more minute. Dust with flour and stir about one minute. Gradually stir in beef broth and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, stirring after each addition simmering until a gravy is formed, I like mine not too thick, but not too thin either.
Slide reserved patties into gravy and turn a couple of times to coat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until cooked through, about five to seven minutes. To make the sauce a little richer, you can swirl in a pat of butter near the end.
I like to serve these mounded up on a pile of mashed potatoes or egg noodles with a side of sweet buttered peas. Spoon extra mushroom gravy over your steak and your starch, garnish with parsley and you are ready to go for a classic bit of Americana dining at its best!
This is easy to adapt to be kosher by simply using vegetable oil in the place of the butter.