Monday, January 3, 2011

Guaranteed Tender

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.


You Can Call Me Jane said...

Listen, young lady. This is exactly what I needed to know about. We, too, have some year old venison steaks in our freezer that I'd like to start using. My crock pot stew method works great to get them tender, but variety is so nice. I'm going to try this. Thank you!

Jennifer Jo said...

This. Looks. Incredible.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jennifer Jo! Looks totally good, can't wait to try it!

odiie said...

That looks delicious. I never think to go look at my hundred year old Betty Crocker cookbook. I think I'll dust it off.

growmyown said...

I just fixed some venison steaks by browning them in olive oil and then smothering them with salsa and then baking at 375 for an hour. I served them with brown rice and some refried beans with cheese on top. Yummy and easy and very tender.

Mama Pea said...

ThyHand - Variety is the spice of life! Glad to help out.

JJ - Thank you, ma'am. (I've impressed myself by impressing you, Great Cooker of All Cooks.)

Hope, etc. - Hope it works for you. (Heck, simmer it long enough and I think this recipe would work on a piece of leather.)

odiie - Ya know, the old cookbooks are so much more basic. Used to be people couldn't afford the more expensive cuts of meat (round steak was an economical cut) so they had to make do with what was within their budget. Whenever I'm lacking in ideas for food preparation, I always pick up one of my older cookbooks for inspiration.

growmyown - Omigosh, does that sound good! Covered or uncovered while baking for the hour? I want to try it!

growmyown said...

Sorry, I should have said covered. I made mine in a cast iron dutch oven that way I could do all the cooking in one pan. Easy clean, I'm all for that.

Susan said...

I had an overwhelming desire to lick the computer monitor screen at that last shot. Good heavens, it looks scrumptious! How on earth can you and Papa Pea be such skinny beans with chow like that???

Teri said...

Well thank you very much for making my stomach growl! :) That looks delicious and what a great variation on venison. Will be sure to use this recipe - thanks!!

Mama Pea said...

growmyown - Thanks! I actually avoid recipes that use several pots or pans. Lazy . . . or smart?

Susan - Ha! These two "skinny beans" are getting seed pods that are starting to bulge out unattractively here and there!

Teri - You're very welcome!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Ok, something is goin' on. I missed this!

First, looks yummy! Nothing like them old recipe books!

And sometimes the meat mallet can make even the worst cut of meat seem delectable!

So do you think you could pass it off as beef?

You Can Call Me Jane said...

We just finished dinner. I made this and both Jamey and I think it's amazing. Thanks so much- I think we have a new favorite way of preparing venison!

Mama Pea said...

APG - Do you know I've never owned or used a meat mallet? (Does this make me too far gone for help?)

Do I think I could pass the venison in this recipe off for beef? In a word: Absolutely.

ThyHand - I am positively pickled tink!! I'm so glad you both liked it! I haven't had any "gamey" flavored venison to use but I'm wondering if the seasonings might help an awful lot in masking even that. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you tried and liked the recipe.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

See, I too think that if it's done right, you can fool any one. I am having company on Friday and I told them I have two cuts in the beef and one venison. They'll just have to tell me which one they are eating. Of course it's the venison...

I am going to do it a bit different, cuz I plan to beat the snot out of it :) Aggression relief!!

Mama Pea said...

APG - Girl, you make me laugh almost every day! (Don't stop.)

Erin said...

This is funny - because we had cube steak/mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans tonight! Of course, I should have read this YESTERDAY so I could have avoided the toughness we went thru making it the standard old pan fry country fried steak way, next time I'm trying it this way!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - I once had some minute steaks (I think that's the same as cube steaks?) that were a smidge on the tough side so I made them using my Swiss Steak recipe. They actually fell apart in the pan! I would have been okay, I'm sure, if I hadn't simmered them so long. So beware and check yours before they self-destruct!

Ashlee said...

I used your basic idea last night for dinner, but instead of tossing the onions (we don't have chickens yet) I added some mushrooms and just reduced the liquid by half, and had it over the meat and potatoes. Delish! Thanks for the idea!

Mama Pea said...

Tiny Gardener - Welcome and thanks for commenting! I LOVE your idea! I love mushrooms and I'm thinking that would give a whole different taste to this dish. So thanks for the great idea and I'm going to try it!

Dirt Lover said...

Gee, this sounds great! I wish I'd have had this recipe when I got those two raccoons in the fall. That would have spiced things up around here, huh?? Guess now I'll just have to stick to venison. Sounds like a great recipe. I'll try it soon. Excuse me while I go set that trap again.

Mama Pea said...

Lori - I'll bet you wouldn't have been the first to eat raccoon! (Wonder if they taste like chicken?)