I've got a good way of fixing a not-so-tender piece of meat so that you can cut it with a fork. The recipe is officially called "Swiss Steak" and I think I copied it a hundred years ago out of a Betty Crocker cookbook. (But I'm not sure. My memory's not as good as it was a hundred years ago.)
We have some venison steaks that are very flavorful but just a tad on the chewy side. I've been pan frying them and we're eating them with gusto, but I wanted to see what would happen if I made them with my old tried-and-true Swiss Steak recipe. Here's the way I originally copied it from Ms. Crocker's book.
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. round steak
1/4 - 1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons fat
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 large onion, sliced
Dredge meat in flour.
Brown in hot fat. Sprinkle with seasonings. (Even though I don't always have 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of meat, I still use the same amount of seasonings and it never comes out too salty.)
Add onion slices and water. (Level of water in skillet should be at least three-quarters of the way up the meat.)
Cover the pan and simmer about 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
The above picture shows the meat after one hour of cooking. Lots of good juices for gravy making. How long did I simmer the venison today? About 2-1/2 hours. As long as you keep checking the water level (don't let the skillet go dry) and adding more as needed, you could simmer it all day. Wouldn't hurt a thing and you would be sure to have tender meat which is what I was shooting for with these steaks.
If I'm making a large batch of gravy with the water/drippings, I will add more water. Today I wanted only enough for the two of us so I kept the water level about three-quarters of the way up the meat in the skillet.
At the end of the cooking time, I remove the meat to a covered dish to keep it warm.
Then I strain everything left in the skillet through a large strainer capturing the liquid to use for making gravy. (The stuff in the strainer goes to the chickens.)
I had about one cup of strained liquid so I put 1/4 cup butter in the skillet to melt and get fairly hot.
Then I stirred in 1/4 cup of flour left over from dredging the meat, cooked it stirring constantly until it was bubbly and almost starting to brown.
Then I slowly added the strained liquid stirring until smooth after each addition. After adding all the strained liquid I had, I found the gravy to be too thick so I just added more water until I got the desired consistency.
How was the venison steak? Dee-lish! So tender you could cut it with a fork. And we did.
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