Perhaps best known as an iconic TV dinner, Salisbury steak has been a favorite dinner in my family for decades. It’s such an old school, comforting meal from back in the day. In honor of National TV Dinner Day, Sept. 10, 2021, let’s revisit a classic.
When I was a kid, it was a special occasion for me to get a TV dinner, reserved for those rare times when my folks went out and I had a babysitter. Do you remember the ones in the aluminum pans with the individual compartments for each food?
When I was 8 years old it was so exciting. A whole miniature meal, all for myself. My favorite was the Salisbury steak dinner with whipped potatoes that had a yellow square of what we can only assume was a pat of butter, peas and perfectly square carrots, and in the upper center compartment, a blissful chocolate brownie! Oh, joy!
Kids today just don’t understand the excitement. (Boy, I sound ancient!) Now everything is frozen and zapped in the microwave.
I updated the recipe, but the essence remains. Most recipes from back in the day called for a can of this and a packet of that. My recipe is made simply from scratch, and the difference is glorious. This lip-smacking savory, beefy delight is even better when it’s homemade.
CLASSIC SALISBURY STEAK
WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
Yield: 4 servings Time: 45-60 minutes
Serving suggestion: mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
1 onion, half minced, half sliced into rings
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds hamburger (85/15, you want these juicy)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or crushed crackers
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth, low sodium
1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Start with the onion. To clarify — cut the onion in half. You’ll finely mince one half and thinly slice the remaining half into rings or half-moons depending on which direction you sliced the onion.
If you’re serving mashed potatoes, start them now or they won’t be ready when the Salisbury steaks are done.
2. OK! Now, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add 1/2 tablespoon oil and saute the minced half of the onion until softened. Keep your eye on this while you move on to the next step.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the hamburger, breadcrumbs, egg, horseradish, 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire and a little salt and pepper. Add the softened onions from the skillet, then reduce the heat on the skillet while you mix and combine these ingredients. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form oval-shaped patties about 1/2-inch thick.
4. Return your skillet to medium-high heat and add another 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place the patties into the skillet and cook about 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Set aside and keep warm.
5. In the same skillet, saute the rings of onion and the mushrooms until soft and golden brown. Remove the onion and mushroom and set aside. Add the broth, and using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir, scraping up all the lovely, browned bits. Mix the cold water and cornstarch together until very smooth (no lumps!) and pour into the broth.
6. Bring to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire. Return the patties, onions and mushrooms to the pan and give it a stir to coat. Let this simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors develop.
If we made brownies for dessert, my inner child would think I’d died and gone to heaven.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!”