Cheap Recipe: Swiss Steak

26 Aug

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

It was fifty degrees on the August day I made this, so I felt giddy getting out my big autumn Dutch oven for the season!

It was fifty degrees on the August night that I made this, and I felt downright giddy getting out my big autumn Dutch oven for the season! Nothing rings in the chilly weather or says "Welcome home!" to someone after a hard day at work than this big pot of stew fragrancing the kitchen!

Since Hubby’s been working super late this week, I’ve had to come up with meals that can camp out on the stove for an indefinite amount of time to stay warm without over-cooking. This old favorite simmered beautifully in a Dutch oven on the stovetop until we finally ate dinner at 9:00 p.m. on Monday evening.

 (Please ignore the crumbs on the oven in my photo…I was sneaking bits of Bunny Bread crust dipped in the broth right off the stove while I waited for Hubby to get home from work. Don’t tell!)

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is, and how ridiculously good it tastes. If this isn’t already in your regular recipe gallery, work it in! (Oh, and did I mention it’s also South Beach Diet-Friendly and Atkins Diet-Friendly, too?)

You can leave your all your spices in the cabinet for this recipe!

You can leave your all your spices in the cabinet for this recipe!

This dish begins with beef. Any amount, any cut–it really doesn’t matter. I’ve had it with choice sirloin and I’ve had it with ground beef chunks. I’ve made a little or a lot. It just plain works.

This time, I found some country-style boneless beef ribs in my freezer. I hadn’t really bought them with any purpose; they were just on sale at the time. Boy, were they the right answer for Swiss Steak night.

Let the outside of the meat get brown before adding veggies. It's okay if the inside is still pink at this point.

Let the outside of the meat get brown before adding veggies. It's okay if the inside is still pink at this point.

In a Dutch oven (or skillet or pot), pour a couple tablespoons of oil in the bottom over medium heat.

My oven’s heat levels are numbered; my pot stayed on “5” during the meat-and-veggie browning phases. If you’re not lucky enough to be using a cast iron pot, you might have to tinker back and forth. Just keep an eye on it and don’t let anything start sticking. And then tell everyone you know that you need some cast iron cookware for your birthday. (Thanks for the awesome birthday pot, Mom.)

When range is hot, add thawed beefsteaks (whole) to the pot and stir intermittently until outside of meat is evenly browned.

Leave the veggies in big chunks. This will add more texture to your stew.

Leave the veggies in big chunks. This will add more texture to your stew.

While meat is browning, chop 2 green peppers into large pieces and quarter or slice an onion into large pieces. Once meat exterior is evenly browned, add oil if necessary and toss in the peppers and onions.

Stir until vegetables begin to tenderize or onions start to carmelize. Don’t overcook them, though. They’ll get plenty tender in the next step and nobody wants a bowl of mush.

Once vegetables are cooked but not limp, add 2 large cans of tomatoes. You can use whatever’s in the cabinet for this. I had one can of stewed tomatoes and one can of diced

If the beef isn't particularly fatty, you may want to add a little more oil when you add the veggies.

If the beef isn't particularly fatty, you may want to add a little more oil when you add the veggies.

 tomatoes. I generally drain one can and leave one pretty wet so the stew has broth without being soupy.

Just look at those colors. Imagine the smell. Hungry yet?

Just look at those colors. Imagine the smell. Hungry yet?

Once the tomatoes are in, splash the whole mixture with 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce. (I usually give the bottle about ten good shakes. Again, I’m not big on washing measuring spoons!)

Stir the mixture, making sure no meat or vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. You can serve it as soon as ten minutes later, or keep it on low for as many hours as you need. Mine lasted a good 3 hours on low before we actually ate.

Chef’s note: You can also just throw all these raw ingredients into the Crock Pot in the morning and set it on LOW for

eight hours if you want, as long as the beef is already thawed. I’m not a big fan of slow cooker meals that you have to

We didn't waste time with rice or noodles. We just went straight to the good stuff!

We didn't waste time with rice or noodles. We just went straight to the good stuff!

 brown the meat for first, so this is a great early-morning throw-together that avoids this step nicely.

Serve over rice, egg noodles, couscous, plain white bread, or whatever tickles your fancy. (Or just eat it straight out of the bowl like Hubby and I did this week. You can’t beat this low-carb and high-fiber combo!)

I guarantee if you have this meal once, you’ll definitely be having it again!

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