Cheap Recipe: Smothered Steak

4 Sep

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

This delicious, melty steak is a staple of our regular dinner menu.

Believe it or not, a delicious, half-pound steak is hiding under this carnival of melted cheese & veggies!

I first came up with this dish a few years ago when we wanted to stop blowing our whole weekend budget on one dinner out. Friday nights were all about relaxing, unwinding, and eating something special, and ever since I came up with this quick one-dish steak dinner, our trips to the pricey steakhouses have become pretty much nonexistent.

And really, we don’t miss that, either. This meal is ready in less time than it would take to score a TABLE at a restaurant on a Friday night, you don’t have to load up the family in the car and pray everyone behaves themselves, and the price is MUCH better! Oh, and by the way, this dish is both Atkins-friendly and South Beach Diet-friendly; just skip the steak sauce or use a low-carb version!

Give the steaks a few long stabs to help absorb flavor.

Give the steaks a few long stabs to help absorb flavor.

Begin by setting the oven to BROIL. Place two thawed steaks in a bowl. You can use any cut–top sirloin, eye-of-round, it doesn’t matter. I am consistently amazed at the crazy cheap prices I find locally on London Broil, so that’s what we generally have. I don’t get it–it’s a very tender and lean cut of meat, thick and juicy as can be, and I scored two of them for $3.51 on my last trip to the grocery store. Why are they always so cheap? I’d prefer this cut even it were expensive! (Good thing for us it’s not, because we get to have it a lot more often as it is!)

But I digress. With a sharp knife, score a few deep slices along each side of each steak. This will help the flavor soak in and quicken the cook time on the steaks. (I got this wonderful tip from The Joy of Cooking.) This method is also a

A little oil helps preserve tenderness...

A little oil helps preserve tenderness...

 terrific stress reliever after a really lousy day at work. Come home, relax, and stab at a dead cow to your heart’s content. Excellent.

Sprinkle each steak side with onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Next, pour a little bit of oil over the meat, being sure to flip them and soak both sides.

A little steak sauce can be added, too, if you like.

A little steak sauce can be added, too, if you like.

(Olive oil is good if you have it, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve just used plain old vegetable oil. Makes no difference!)

Swirl the steaks around in the bowl to soak up the extra oil drippings. The oil will disappear right into those pretty stab wounds you made on the steaks. If desired, you can also drizzle a little steak sauce into the oil marinade, but you don’t have to.

Pop those babies in the broiler and just wait for your house to start smelling REALLY good!

Pop those babies under the broiler and just wait for your house to start smelling REALLY good!

Line a foil-covered, low-sided cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack and place steaks on top of rack. (Or, if you own a broiler pan, you can just use that.) Place in the oven to broil. Because my steaks were thick, I broiled them for 10 minutes per side. They came out a beautiful medium. Thinner steaks will tend to cook faster, so keep this in mind when you broil and flip the steaks.

While steaks are broiling, go ahead an prepare your toppings. You really can use all sorts of things here. Because you’re not dealing with a whole lot of surface area to top, this is a great way to use up parts of vegetables (leftovers) from other projects–half an onion, a piece of poblano, spinach leaves, a handful of olives–whatever’s in the fridge.

I even once used a small, abandoned portion of leftover grilled shrimp as steak topping–boy, howdy, was that good!

See what a tiny amount of produce it takes to top these steaks?

See what a tiny amount of produce it takes to top these steaks?

This time, I decided to thinly slice part of a green pepper I had rocking around–and added a small handful of fresh mushroom slices. (Mushrooms can be fresh or canned, it doesn’t matter!)

When the steaks are cooked to your desired doneness, pull them out of the stove (leave the broiler on, though!) and arrange toppings over them. Lay a slice or two of mozzarella

Just balance some cheese slices over the toppings.

Just balance some cheese slices over the toppings.

 cheese over the toppings on each steak.

Return to oven and broil approximately 2 minutes, or until cheese is melting and just beginning to brown. Don’t worry about sauteeing the vegetables before this–the extreme heat of your broiler function coupled with them being sandwiched between moist steak and moist cheese will tender them up in just those couple of minutes. So why mess up a skillet?

Is your mouth watering?

Is your mouth watering?

Pull the steaks out of the oven for the second time and serve. This dish is delicious placed over a bed of rice or paired with a quick microwave-baked potato.

So, let’s review…Less than 30 minutes in the kitchen on a Friday night and juicy, cheap steak for dinner? That’s my idea of an ideal weekend.


2 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Smothered Steak”

  1. kim September 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM #

    I shall have to try this recipe, if for nothing less, so I can relieve stress and stab the meat. You crack me up, as always.

    Looks delish!

  2. Gracie September 8, 2009 at 10:43 AM #

    Haha. Yes, I’ve found a good cow-stabbing right at the beginning of the weekend seems to clear out a lot of pent-up tension from the week. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!! Send me a picture! 🙂

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