I've always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder about Swiss steak (p. 482) but it's completely due to my mother. Apparently mom got sick on Swiss steak as a child and has not only never been able to eat again but also never wanted to see anyone else eating it (in fact, I think even saying "Swiss steak" makes her a little sick). So I think the only time I've ever had Swiss steak has been in a TV dinner.
The recipe looked simple. I rubbed garlic on a bottom round steak, then pounded as much flour...
...into my steak...
as it would hold.
This was problematic because every time I hit the steak, flour went everywhere. It made a huge mess. Does anyone have a solution for this problem? I will say, the dogs were grateful for the mess, because they were trying to convince me that flour all over the floor was the most delicious thing ever.
I browned the pieces, which wasn't easy because they didn't really fit in the pot:
I added chopped onion, carrot, and celery (no bell pepper due to my hatred of bell peppers). The tomato was optional so I didn't include it, even though Wikipedia insinuates that the tomato makes the Swiss steak.
At this point I realized the whole thing was supposed to go in the oven. Crap. I transferred it to my ovenproof pot and popped it in the oven. It went from this:
Time for the Meat pan gravy (p. 546). I removed my meat from the pot.
I poured off all but a few tablespoons of drippings and whisked flour into them:
I then added back my pan juices (I didn't have to add anything because I had exactly a cup of pan drippings):
I simmered the gravy until it was thickened:
The whole thing was delicious! The gravy was absolutely perfect. No lumps, the perfect thickness, and easy, what more could you want? I'm usually really intimidated by gravy making so this was good for my self confidence.
The Swiss steak was surprisingly good! It's a good method for using a economical piece of meat but still having a tender end-product. I made mashed potatoes and it was a hearty, cheap, and tasty meal that resulted in terrific leftovers.
"The name does not refer to Switzerland, but instead to the process of "swissing", which refers to fabric or other materials being pounded or run through rollers in order to soften it." (Wikipedia)