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.
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. Course, at that age, didn't matter much to us! 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. Boy have times changed for couples now - they go into a marriage with student loans, a big mortgage and notes for new cars and furniture. It wears me out just thinking about it.

Anyway... round steak was far less expensive than a prime cut of beef back then 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 eatin' Cajun loves it. It definitely isn't so cheap anymore though!

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 - add in a bit of garlic too if you like; remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

Season and pound the meat on both sides to tenderize it. I use a blade tenderizer - sure is easier than Mama's old meat mallet, which I actually do still own. If you've got some anger and resentments to work out, the mallet might be helpful. Once tenderized, cut the meat into serving sized pieces.

Dredge in flour and brown in oil

Remove the meat and deglaze the pan with a little bit of water.

You're deglazing because we want to scrape up the fond - all of those brown yum-yums that happen in the bottom of the pan from browning the meat. That's flavor y'all! 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.

I almost always serve this with homemade mashed potatoes and my quick fix sweet peas or southern style green beans made with onion and bacon - one man pleasin' meal around my house for sure!

Be careful when you pick up round steak for this recipe because very often the package will be marked simply as "round steak," when it is actually top round, the leaner and more costly part of the round and not really appropriate for this recipe.

A telltale sign is if the meat is already in serving size pieces, rather than the larger steak as pictured above. This recipe is more suited for a braising steak, 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.

For more of my favorite recipes using round steak, visit my page on Pinterest!

Round Steak and Gravy with Onion

Round Steak and Gravy with Onion

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 20 M
Poor man's steak, made with bottom round steak and slow simmered in a cream soup mushroom gravy with caramelized onion.


  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (canola, vegetable)
  • 1 onion, sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds beef bottom round steak, or other braising steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • About 1/4 cup water for deglazing
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 soup can water
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the 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.
  2. Meanwhile, season the meat lightly on both sides with salt and pepper and pound with a meat mallet to tenderize. Cut into 6 to 8 serving sized pieces, and dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  3. Heat another tablespoon of 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 and adding additional oil as needed.
  4. 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.
  5. Meanwhile combine the cream 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


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.

For the Crockpot:  Prepare as above, except, place 1/3 of soup mixture in bottom of slow cooker. Top with half of the browned steaks, half of the onions, another 1/3 of the soup mixture, layer in remaining steaks, onions, deglazed pan drippings and last of the soup mixture. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

Bottom Round Steak, Braising Steaks, Beef, Dinner
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Posted by on December 12, 2010
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