Sunday, December 12, 2010

Steak and Gravy with Onion

Poor man's steak, made with bottom round steak and slow simmered in a cream soup mushroom gravy with caramelized onion.

Steak and Gravy with Onion

The first cookbook I ever received, was the 1973 red, ring-bound Betty Crocker's Cookbook, given to me by my mama. I still have it. Anybody else?

Round steak and gravy is one of the first dishes that I learned to cook from Betty Crocker as a young bride, what seems now 100 years ago, though the dish has gone through a bit of transition since back then.  In fact, I'd say that the School of Betty Crocker was the beginning of my book learnin' culinary education!

As a young couple, we were pretty much dirt poor back in those days - I can't recall how long we used lawn furniture in our living room before we got an actual couch, chair and recliner - but I can tell you, it was awhile.  Our first purchase as a young married couple was not furniture, but a Curtis Mathis console television that we bought on time and let me tell you, we were big time to own one of those. Funny thing though... we managed just fine to be happy without a lot of material trappings back then.

Round steak was far less expensive than a prime cut of beef so this dish quickly became a favorite. I don't know why I don't make it more often these days, because its easy, filling and tasty. And the meat and potatoes eating Cajun loves it.

Not much to the prep work with this really, and it works just as well in the crockpot as it does on top of the stove, so it's perfect for this time of year when time is short and the holidays are approaching.

You start by caramelizing some onion and add in a bit of garlic if you like; remove from the pan and set that aside. Pound the meat a bit to tenderize it, cut it into serving pieces and dredge in flour. You can also substitute already tenderized cube steaks for this recipe, or check out this tutorial on making your own.

Brown the meat in some oil and deglaze the pan with a little bit of water.

You're deglazing because we want to scrape up all of those brown yum-yums in the bottom of the pan from browning the meat. Mix the soup, water, crushed dried thyme, and a bit of Kitchen Bouquet together, pour half of that into the pan and stir to combine.

Add the meat to the skillet turning it to coat both sides.   Add the caramelized onions on top of the meat.

Pour the other half of the soup mix on top, cover and simmer about 2 hours, or until meat is very tender. If you're doing this in the crockpot, you'll simply transfer all of this to the cooker.

Serve that up with some homemade mashed potatoes and some southern style green beans made with onion and bacon, and you have one man pleasin' meal around my house for sure!

When I asked The Cajun to swing by and pick up round steak for this photo op, the kind he brought home, though it was marked only as "round steak," was apparently top round, the better part of the round, and more expensive than what I would have used for this dish. I had to adjust the cooking time, and though it was good of course, this recipe is more suited for for the cheapest cut - or what is known as bottom round. After long stewing, whether stovetop or crockpot, the result will be fall apart tender and delicious.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Round Steak and Gravy with Onion

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 pound beef bottom round steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, divided
  • About 1/4 cup of water for deglazing
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 soup can of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet

Heat about half of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Remove onion and garlic from pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut meat up into 6 to 8 serving sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Pound several times with a meat mallet on both sides to tenderize, then dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess flour. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet you cooked the onion in over medium heat, and brown the steak on both sides in batches, setting the pieces aside as you brown them.

Deglaze the pan by adding in about 1/4 cup of water to the empty skillet, simmering and scraping up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Meanwhile combine the cream of mushroom soup, water, thyme and Kitchen Bouquet in a small bowl. Add half of the soup mixture to the pan juices and stir until blended. Return the meat to the skillet, turning to coat each piece and top with the caramelized onions. Pour the remaining soup mix over the top, cover, reduce heat and low simmer, stirring and turning occasionally, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender.

Transfer meat to a platter or on individual plates and pour the gravy over the meat. Serve with homemade mashed potatoes or rice and a green salad or vegetable, like southern style green beans with bacon and onion.

Crockpot: Prepare onions; set aside. Brown meat and transfer to crockpot and deglaze the pan. Top the meat with the prepared onions and the soup mixture. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Note: Braising steaks are best for this dish. Braising is not recommended for top round (which is often just marked as "round,"), so use an eye or bottom round steak for this dish. Good braising steaks include chuck eye, chuck arm, chuck 7-bone steak, mock tender, chuck tender steak and flat iron.

Variations: Substitute cube steak for the round steak. Add in about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 12, 2010
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  1. That looks as comforting as a fleece blanket fresh out of the dryer on a wet wintery day!

  2. I still have that same cookbook! lol I became a bit of a collector over the years and have dozens, but Betty Crocker and the Good Housekeeping cookbooks are my standards! And that steak and gravy look delicious! Can't remember if I ever made that recipe. I'll have to check the cookbook. Whenever I made a recipe, I would write in the margin whether it was good or not!

  3. Nice steak dinner Mary! I have an old Betty Crocker baking cookbook from when I was a young teen. I bought my great niece one last year, she was as thrilled to receive it as I remember being.

  4. Now you're talking - serious southern comfort food. I just love this dish and can't remember the last time we had it, but it will be soon now.

  5. That cookbook was my first cookbook and yes, I still have it. I haven't made this dish in so long and it looks just wonderful. Thanks for reminding me of some of the great dishes in that book.

  6. I'm HUNGRYYYYYYY...... may I have one of these, please??? HAppy Monday, ciaso Flavia

  7. I am so happy I found your blog. My mom never liked to cook so the only recipes she shared were quick meals. Oh and of course how to cook a pot of beans. I'm just now realizing I love to cook and am searching out some great recipes to try. I live in Southeast Louisiana and all your recipes are just what I'm looking for. I'm still a beginner in the kitchen but am getting better. In fact I made your loaded baked potato soup last night and it was excellent. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. I will be back daily!

  8. Your site is ridiculous. I love it. Thanks for the great and delicious recipes.

  9. I still have mine, although I had the bound version and the "lids" have been taped many times. I found a copy for my son and daughter, so when they left home, they would have some of "mom's" recipes. I dress this up sometimes for company with added mushrooms, a little red wine and some sour cream stirred in just before serving.

  10. I got married in 1971 and got this cookbook (1970 Version - same front and recipes I think, just not ring-bound) as a wedding present. It is still one of my favorites and I refer back to it often for all the old staple recipes. Thanks for the good memories and recipes.

  11. Hi Billie! I actually have that one too! Somehow I ended up with the bound version - I think it was at mama's house when she passed away. It's a bit more beat up on the binding though.

  12. Yes - My mama had this cookbook, and I finally dug it out and took it home from her house last year. This was the first cookbook I ever cooked from.

    1. I think a lot of us learned how to cook between home ec and Betty!

  13. My grandmother gave me the same BC Cookbook you have pictured in July of 1976 and of course I still have it and I refer back to it often, but that might be because she had signed it and it brings back tons of memories... the first thing she taught me to cook was gravy..she always said you will never go hungry because you will always have flour, bacon grease and water or hopefully evaporated milk......she was so right....thanks for letting me share

    1. Oh wow, what a wonderful way to remember her. HUGS

  14. I just found your site, and made the steak with gravy and onion. I put it in my crock pot after the initial prep work. Served it with mashed potatoes, green beans and blackeye peas. Had my son and daughter-in-law over to eat with us, and everyone loved it! The meat was extremely tender. I live about 30 miles north of Birmingham, AL, but was transplanted here from Ventura, CA when I was sixteen. I've now lived here for 35 years and this is home. Thanks for a wonderful site!

    1. I've been to Ventura! It was very pretty there. These are the kinds of dishes my husband really loves - I so glad it went over well with your family & thank you so much for taking the time to come back by and let me know!

  15. I never post on blogs, but when I saw that picture of the cookbook, tears immediately sprung to my eyes. That Betty Cookbook is the only cookbook my mother (from Alabama) ever had and I still use it to this day. She passed away from Cancer before I turned 21, so I can't show her what a great cook I've become 10 years later. Thanks for the blog Mary. I've seen recipes of dishes that I allowed to leave with my mother. I'm just now bringing them back and you are helping me to do that. Give your mother plenty of hugs and kisses for me if you can. She did a great job! Smooches.

    1. Oh my goodness now you got me grabbing the tissues!! You are welcome & that is exactly why I do this. I'm so sorry that you lost your Mother so young but you know, I'd be willing to bet that she does know what a great cook you turned out to be! Unfortunately I'm in that same club. My Mama passed in 1997 and I still miss her every single day of my life like it was yesterday. I hope you have a blessed Christmas & that you please do come back to visit here often. {{{HUGS}}}

  16. That Betty Crocker Cookbook is the exact one my dear Mother gave me when I got married. The pages wear the evidence of all the splatters and spills from over the years. It is my most-loved and will no doubt be my forever favorite. It was given as a shower gift to many other young brides in the family over the years as well. Mom is now my angel looking on from Heaven; sure do miss her lots.

  17. That Betty Crocker Cookbook is the exact same one my dear Mother gave me when I got married. It wears the splatters and spills from my cooking adventures throughout the years. My Mom is now an angel watching me from Heaven, but I feel closer to her while cooking and baking than anywhere else.

  18. My Betty Crocker Red cookbook is 35 years old and still my favorite and I have never found one better. My all time favorite recipes are Hungarian Goulash and Beef Stroganoff.

    1. It really is a great classic Mary & those are two excellent recipes as well!

    2. I have that cookbook but it is falling apart, I would like to find another one. If anyone knows where I could get one please let me know. Thanks

    3. Juanita, you'll sometimes find a used one for sale on Amazon or eBay, though eBay seems to be pretty expensive. They are rarely in very good shape though.

  19. Does anyone remember a cookbook, It was southern living, a green hardback, I lost it in the hurricanes. I used that book for my Thanksgiving recipes. It had a pecan crumb pie that was awesome, made mostly from grahm crackers

    1. Hi Debbie! There have been so many Southern Living cookbooks it'd be hard to know exactly which one that was. Have you looked on ebay or Etsy? You may have some luck with those two sites and you'll have a picture to see if you recognize the cover! Be sure to check back with them both often as things show up and sell all the time. I have a few old ones I'll look through when I can. I have been in the process of moving and all of my cookbooks are still in boxes in the garage!

  20. Does anyone remember the Southern Living cookbook, it was a green hardback, I lost it in the hurricanes, I used it for my Thanksgiving dinners, it had a pecan crumb pie that was awesome, made mostly of grahm crackers.


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