Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Swiss Steak....Bordering on Italian Steak!

Swiss Steak

SWISS Steak?  While the name says "Swiss," clearly this recipe has had major influences from across the borders of Switzerland...the southern border, the ITALIAN border!
My mom made this all the time when I was a kid.  Her version came without the garlic, without the oregano and basil, without the red wine, without the red pepper flakes...I liked it back then, but my own family's tastes have changed and gotten (arguably) more sophisticated over the years.  Somehow the recipe segued into what it is today...a jazzed up Italian-style, rich, hearty, beefy family favorite.
Back then, when Mom served up her Swiss steak, it came accompanied with mashed potatoes, tomato-y sauce drizzled over the potatoes, Argo canned peas (ugghhh...a shiver goes down my spine from the memory!) alongside.  (Those damned peas were my dad's favorite vegetable...and that's a stretch even referring to those greyish, mushy orbs as a vegetable.)
Today I serve the fork-tender, slow-simmered steak in somewhat the same style as Mom - with mashed potatoes still drizzled with a tomato-y sauce.  Only now it's a spicy, rich, garlicky sauce redolent with wine and deep, rich flavors.  But no canned peas for my group!  Usually we enjoy bright green al dente broccoli alongside or a few beautiful stalks of asparagus.   SO much better!  I think Mom would agree.
You know, I've thought about calling my version "Italian Steak"...come on, with the red sauce, the TRULY green veggie and white potatoes on the plate you've already got the colors of the Italian flag!  I couldn't bear to change the name though...I have to hold onto at least part of the family tradition...and the memories.
Swiss Steak
  • whole bottom round stead, about 1" thick, cut into approximately 6 pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 large green peppers, sliced
  • 28 ounce can of tomatoes (break up the tomatoes)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t. basil
  • 1 T. oregano
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • granulated garlic, to taste
  • 1 C. red wine, or more if needed
Remove all fat from steaks, cut into serving pieces, season well with granulated garlic, salt and pepper and brown in oil in a hot, large electric skillet (with tight fitting lid to use later).  When browned, remove from pan.
In the same skillet, add garlic, green peppers and onions; saute 5 minutes.  Remove veggies, put steaks back into skillet and cover with the veggies.  Add tomatoes, wine and seasonings.  Cover with lid (told you you'd use it later!), reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours or until fork tender.
Check often to be sure there is enough liquid in skillet and, if not, add a little wine or water.  Do NOT let it dry out.
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