Friday, October 2, 2009

RECIPE: Baked Steak (total old-fashioned comfort food)

I think you used to be able to order baked steak (also known as "smothered steak," as in "smothered with gravy") as a Blue Plate Special in restaurants in my childhood. It was usually offered with the steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn or green beans and a brown-and-serve dinner roll. Maybe some pie and a cup of coffee. But anyway, however it was served, it was delicious.

This recipe comes from an church cookbook that was published in 1992. The name of the recipe in that book is "Poor Man's Steak" and the name of the contributer, whom I knew personally before she passed away, leads me to wonder if Baked Steak or Poor Man's Steak or whatever you want to call it, is actually a Depression-era recipe that was handed down from that time even when prosperity returned because it was just so good.

I made it last night with some creamy whipped potatoes and sweet corn and it was comfort food par excellance. Not in the least bit hip, haute, nouvelle or elegant, it has it's very own place in American diner cuisine.


2 pounds ground beef
1 "row" or package of saltine or round butter crackers, finely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet brown gravy mix
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and press into a 9x13 baking pan. Chill for three hours in fridge. At the end of three hours, cut the meat into eight squares and dredge in flour; brown in a skillet with just a tiny bit of oil. Return the squares to the baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the two cans of cream of mushroom soup, gravy mix, Worcestershire and garlic powder with one can of warm water. Whisk until smooth; pour over steak slices in the baking pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking pan in oven, uncovered, for one hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, and be generous with the gravy. Also recommended are corn, green beans or cooked carrots.

And a brown and serve dinner roll.

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