I suppose this Swiss Steak isn’t quite the recipe Grandma used to make… Her style of cooking was “a little bit of this, a little bit of that” and recipes seemed to change slightly from one time she made a dish to the next.
Fundamentally, though, this has all the building blocks of that hearty, aromatic Swiss Steak we all looked forward to.
I have seen recipes that do not have mushrooms and some recipes that use carrots. You do you. This is my favourite combo for this recipe!
One of the beautiful parts of a meal like this is how fast and easy it is to throw together for a crowd!
I will often use crockpots so I can prep our meal in the morning and forget about it until dinner time rolls around and it is time to eat. This is especially nice when you don’t know exactly when dinner time will be, which can happen when we are working on renovation projects or if there are quite a few people to “round up” before eating.
I use an entire roast for this recipe; you can use round steak roast or other, tougher cuts that are cheaper since this will have a long, slow cook time to tenderize everything.
Make sure all the excess fat is trimmed off, then cut the roast into cubes.
Mix flour, salt, and pepper (I like a bit of heat, so I add some cayenne powder as well, but this is optional), then coat your beef cubes in batches.
Pre-heat a pan to a medium-high heat with a generous drizzle of canola oil, then place the floured beef cubes in the oil. You want to make sure your cubes are not touching so they brown nicely.
Also, you don’t want to get too much excess flour in the pan when adding your beef cubes.
The goal here is not to fully cook the meat; you just need it to brown nicely on a couple sides to make the flavour pop. The beef will finish cooking in the crockpot.
Depending on the size of your frying pan and how much beef you have to brown, you may have to fry the meat in batches.
Once the meat is nicely browned, go ahead and transfer it into a large crockpot on low heat.
Next, add your sliced onions to the same pan and fry on medium heat until the onion begins to soften. This will enhance the flavour for your Swiss Steak.
Transfer the onions to your crockpot, then add a little more oil (a tablespoon or so should do) and the remainder of the flour mix from coating your beef cubes.
Whisk the flour so it mixes with the oil and allow it to brown a bit before adding about 2 cups of beef broth. Mix again, then add this to the crockpot as well. This will make for a thick, rich gravy consistency for your Swiss Steak.
Next, add stewed tomatoes (or better yet, fresh tomatoes if you have some on hand!), garlic, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper flakes, oregano, basil, lemon juice, and mushrooms to your crockpot.
Note: I prefer oven roasted garlic, so I make large batches in olive oil so I can simply grab cloves of garlic as needed. If you don’t do this, you can use raw, diced garlic.
If you don’t like spicy food or have family members that can’t handle the heat, go ahead and skip the cayenne peppers. The amount I use is enough for a bit of heat, but is not overpowering.
I should also mention that if you do not have Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar on hand, you can still make this recipe! These ingredients make the flavours pop, but aren’t a deal-breaker if you just don’t have them.
One last note! If you have fresh basil and oregano, you will need to add about double the amount I list in the recipe to get the same effect. I should also note that these herbs tend to get bitter when cooked too long, so you may want to add them closer to when you plan to serve the Swiss Steak.
Mix well and allow it to slow-cook on low heat for a few hours. If you have all day, that’s great! The flavours will really develop the longer this cooks. If you only have a couple hours, that works too.
Oh! I almost forgot!
You can also make this a budget-friendly meal that is high in protein by adding dried lentils at this point… You can use less meat to save the pocket book, yet make this just as filling. The lentils will also help make the gravy thicker, which I prefer.
When you are about an hour or so before dinner time, add the sliced peppers. I like adding them toward the end so they still have a little crunch to them.
Serve over mashed potatoes and enjoy!
If you end up with leftovers, you can change things up the next day by turning this into stew by adding cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, and corn and serve with fresh no-knead bread.
1 large roast, cubed
1/2 cup flour
Salt & Pepper
1 t cayenne powder (optional)
3 medium onions, sliced
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
5-6 cloves oven roasted garlic (or raw, diced)
1 large can Italian stewed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
1 T cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups beef broth
1 cup dried lentils (optional)
2 bell peppers, sliced
Trim excess fat from roast and cube meat.
Mix flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne powder, then coat beef cubes.
Fry beef cubes in canola oil over medium-high heat until browned. Remove from pan and place beef in crockpot.
In the same pan, fry onion slices on medium heat until soft, then add to crockpot.
Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pan, then brown remaining flour left from coating the beef cubes.
Add 2 cups beef broth and mix well, then add to the crock pot.
Add all remaining ingredients to the crock pot except peppers. Slow cook on low heat for at least 2-3 hours for best flavour.
Add sliced peppers about an hour before serving.
Serve over mashed potatoes and enjoy!