When I was newly married, Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and biscuits, all cooked from scratch, was a favorite on our usual dinner rotation. Virginia's parents were factory workers who worked long and irregular hours. When presented with a home-cooked meal, it often consisted of cornbread, beans-cooked-to-mush and burned round steak with catsup. Virginia says she survived her childhood by the grace of Julia Child who taught her how to cook.
Virginia says this particular preparation came from an Alton Brown cookbook. God blessed is the man whose wife can cook well! These days, as I am now a vegetarian, Boca Burgers replace the steaks. And even before then, to save on time, the spuds came from a box of potato flakes and the biscuits came from Pillsbury. It doesn't really matter how fancy or easy the sides are to make, the steaks are easy to prepare and should take a competent cook no longer than a half hour to make from scratch. I can make them in just under an hour.
4 cube or round steaks, none greater than a 1/4lb each.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 1 lb mushrooms
2 large sweet onions
4+ cloves one head of garlic
1 cup beef, mushroom or vegetable stock
1/4 cup red wine
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
sea salt to taste
A round steak comes from the rear of the cattle and may include a piece of the femur. At least this is along the lines of American butchery. In English butchery, either thick flank, topside or silverside steaks would be equivalent cuts. These reasonably inexpensive cuts of beef are lean and fairly tough requiring both tenderizing and slow cooking for pleasant eating. If you have a tenderizing machine, wow, you have a lot of fancy kitchen gadgets! For the rest of us, use a meat tenderizer to give each steak several good whacks with the knobby end. They are dead already, no need to go all Conan on them.
Alton recommends cooking everything in a Dutch oven but, for once, I would recommend using a good heavy non-stick skillet and a deep Pyrex roasting pan for this recipe. Set your oven for 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Set your skillet over medium heat. I love sweet onions and I recommend slicing two of them into ringlets, and none too thin either. If you enjoy garlic as much as I do, peel a whole head and smash the cloves with the flat of a chef's knife and then chop them finely. Wash the mushrooms and then quarter them, stems and all.
Put your flour and some salt into a big plate and then dredge each steak into the flour to give a good coating. Put two tablespoons of your butter or oil into the hot skillet and then put your steaks in. You should hear sizzling and the flour should turn golden brown in just a minute. Turn the steaks and cook for another minute. We are not interested in cooking the steaks at this point, any more than a minute in the skillet will result in tough steaks which only a hillbilly would want to eat. Repeat until all steaks have a golden flour breading. Place them all in the Pyrex baking pan.
Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium-low and toss in your onions and mushrooms. We want to cook these until the onions are translucent and then some, until you can split them with a wooden spoon and the mushrooms have cooked out their juices. If the onions start to burn, pour in a bit of the stock. Add the chopped garlic towards the end as they burn easier.
When the onions have reached their desired consistency, add the wine and stir up all the brown tasty bits in the skillet. Now sprinkle just a bit of flour into the skillet and stir it about briskly so the liquids absorb it. Do not let it clump. Add a bit of your stock and let it simmer. Alternate your dashes of flour and your splashes of stock until you are out of stock. You now have oniony, mushroomy gravy and it is delicious! Salt to taste.
Pour your gravy goodness over your steaks in your Pyrex baking pan. Put the pan into your hot and ready oven. Make toast in your toaster and sop up the remaining gravy in the skillet. Let the skillet cool and let your dogs lick the skillet clean. Do not let your mother-in-law see you doing this. In about 25 minutes your steaks should be very tender. Let them cool a bit and then serve with whatever you like. Personally, I like them served over a piece of toast with a side of mashed potatoes and a side of broccoli and a side of macaroni-and-cheese and this is why I am overweight.
Giving credit to where credit is due: http://www.food.com/recipe/cube-steak-salisbury-style-alton-brown-441263#ixzz1qXCKvgEk