It took me until approximately 2007 to be introduced to Swiss Steak by my husband’s family. Swiss steak is a method of slow-cooking a relatively tough cut of beef, such as a round steak. The meat is browned, and then braised in a tomato sauce.
I had never heard of Swiss Steak until after I met my husband. Turns out it isn’t even Swiss! According to Wikipedia, “In England, Swiss Steak is also called ‘smothered steak’. The dish does not stem from Switzerland, as the name suggests, but from the technique of tenderizing by pounding or rolling called ‘swissing’.”
According to The American Century Cookbook, recipes first starting showing up for Swiss steak in the 1930s. I guess the joke is on me for missing out on such a yummy meal for most of my life!
My recipe for Swiss Steak is derived from my mother-in-law’s recipe that she got with her electric frying pan back in the 1990s. I, of course, don’t have a handy dandy electric frying pan, so I had to come up with a way to make Swiss Steak in the oven, and also I had to be sure to make it taste exactly the same as my mother-in-law’s. Did I mention this is my husband’s favorite meal in the entire world? So, no pressure.
I’ve seen many Swiss Steak recipes that use green bell peppers, but my mother-in-law doesn’t. In fact, she uses extra celery instead.
My husband is particular about the amount of browning of the steak. He likes it right on the verge of being burned. Last time I made it, I didn’t burn it enough for his taste. Definitely the first time I’ve ever received that complaint!
To make my mother-in-law’s Swiss Steak, I start with a couple pounds of Cubed Steak. I dredge each steak in 1/3 cup of Gluten Free flour. Then I use a meat mallet and pound the flour into the steak, so the steak absorbs it.
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 325ºF.
In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, I saute 2 sliced onions and 4 dices celery stalks in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. When they’re softened, I set them aside.
Next I raise the heat to high, add 2 more tablespoons of coconut oil, and brown my cubed steaks (thoroughly, for my husband’s preference). I cooked my steaks for 5-10 minutes on each side, and I did it in 2 batches so I didn’t overcrowd my skillet. When they were done, I put them in a 9×13 casserole dish.
Once all the steaks were done, I put my onion and celery back in the skillet, along with the 1 1/2 cups of canned tomatoes (with liquid) and 1 minced garlic clove. I let this cook just for a moment, and I use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck-on beefy bits into my sauce.
The last thing I do is pour the vegetable mixture over the steaks in the casserole dish and cover it up tightly with aluminum foil, then bake it for about 1 1/2 hours.
I serve my Swiss Steak smothered with the vegetables over a bed of rice.
Gluten Free Swiss Steak
- 1 1/2-3 pounds cubed steak
- 1/3 cup Gluten Free flour
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes with liquid
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Heat cast iron skillet on stove top over medium-high heat.
Dredge steaks in flour, and use a meat mallet to pound the flour into the steak. Set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the cast iron skillet to melt. Add onions and celery to skillet and saute, then remove from skillet and set aside.
Turn stove up to high heat and add the last 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to melt. Add steak to brown very well (about 5-10 minutes on each side). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside in a 9×13 casserole dish.
Return onions and celery to the skillet, along with canned tomatoes and garlic. Stir to combine and scrape all the steak bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour vegetable mixture over steaks in the casserole dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender.