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Swiss Steak

It’s so much easier than you might think.

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Swiss Steak

Tender, fall-apart beef, braised for hours and swimming in a flavorful and lightly sweet sauce of tomatoes and vegetables- how does that sound? I was delightfully surprised with this Swiss steak, how full of flavor the silky sauce is and how the meat is so incredible in texture.

The sauce is thickened by the small amount of flour we put in at the beginning of the cooking process with the beef. Combined the with spices this seasoned flour mixture does triple duty as marinade, browning agent, and thickener.

Swiss Steak

And, despite having no wine in this recipe the smell when you first take the lid off the pot after it’s been braised is very reminiscent of boeuf bourguignon. The dish that Julia Child made famous is from Burgundy, which is only a few hours from the Swiss border. However, all evidence of the origins of this dish points to America.

Developed as a way to make tough cuts of meat softer, this ancient technique isn’t Swiss in origin. Nor is the idea of the drenching the meat in tomato gravy. But, the first mention of Swiss steak comes from the Chicago area in the beginning of the 20th century.

Swiss Steak

The dish rose to popularity in the 1930s when tough cuts of meat were all most people could afford. Drown the scant meat in vegetables and you’ve got dinner for a crowd without spending a lot of money. This budget aspect made it popular after World War II as well. Then in the 1950s foil companies used the recipe to sell their product.

So why the name “Swiss steak”? There is an English technique of flattening fabric called “swissing” and it could come from that. Despite being braised for hours, there are many who make their Swiss steak with round steak, London broil, or skirt steak and feel that these tough cuts require pounding with a meat tenderizer before cooking.

Swiss Steak
I used chuck filet steak for these photos and did not use a tenderizer. I don’t think it’s required for this recipe for the following reason. The moisture from the tomatoes and the veggies, combined with a tight lid, do all the work for you. All you have to do is cut things up beforehand and then sear the beef a bit to give it more color and flavor before baking.

Swiss Steak

Serve this delectable stew over rice, egg noodles, or even potatoes for a hearty meal that stands the test of time. In fact, you might just be transported to your childhood when you try this, as I was upon first bite of this tasty meal.

Yield(s): 4-6 servings

20m prep time

3h 10m cook time

519 calories

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers

Allergens: Wheat

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you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs chuck roast or chuck steak, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Toss beef cubes in flour mixture.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high in large stockpot. Add beef and cook until browned and lightly caramelized. Remove from pan.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, Add carrots and onions to stockpot. Cover with beef, and pour in tomatoes, broth, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Cover stockpot and cook in oven for 2 1/ 2 to 3 hours or until beef and vegetables are both tender. Make sure beef is cooked to 165˚F. For a thicker tomato gravy combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional with 1 tablespoon water in small jar. Cover and shake well then add to finished sauce and stir. Allow to sit to 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve beef over rice or noodles and pour sauce over top.

Recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies.