Swiss Steak

The process of “Swissing”!

Yesterday, it was my mother-in-law’s birthday. I wanted to make her something that she used to make. I searched through the Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book and found a recipe for Swiss Steak.

Why on earth is it called swiss steak??? Swiss steak is a method of preparing meat, usually beef, by means of rolling or pounding, and then braising in a cooking pot of stewed tomatoes, either on a stove (cooker) or in an oven.

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. Swiss steak is typically made from relatively tough cuts of meat, such as the round, which have been pounded with a tenderizing hammer, or run through a set of bladed rollers to produce so-called “cube steak”. The meat is typically coated with flour and seasonings and cooked in a gravy made from tomato and sometimes green and red peppers.

The process of swissing meat is done to enable tougher and cheaper pieces of meat to be tenderized. Cube steak is the usual meat used in producing Swiss steak by most home cooks. Cube steak has had the connective fibers that make the meat tough physically broken by the butcher and the braising process further breaks down the connective tissue in the meat. Swiss steak should be tender enough to be eaten without a knife.

I think the next time I make this, I will throw it in the crockpot.  Also, I updated this retro recipe by using olive oil, which was never used in the 50’s and 60’s.

Swiss Steak

Serves 6-8

Olive oil
½ cup seasoned flour (see below)
3 lbs round steak, 2 inches thick
2 onions, sliced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper, to taste
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Seasoned flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup flour
½ tsp paprika

Pound the seasoned flour into steak with meat mallet. In a large skillet, brown meat in hot oil. Add onion and tomatoes; cover and cook Swiss steak over low heat for 2 hours, or until tender. Skim off excess fat. Taste and adjust seasoning.


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