Everything old is new again, so go retro for dinner with some not-a-tv-dinner Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes.
Sometimes you need to make the classics. One great economical meat is ground beef. If we’re not making koobideh kabobs, or meatloaf with it, we regularly make this one skillet spaghetti. But what about the classic Salisbury steak?
I remember Salisbury steak from those aluminum foiled tv dinners my brother and I would sometimes get when my parents would go out for the night. We thought those meals were great! It took 30 minutes to cook in the oven and we would salivate while it cooked and filled the air with its scent.
Remember this is before the microwave. Our dinner included a meat compartment, a veggie compartment, a starch and a warm dessert – like cherry pie! But the salisbury steak from the past doesn’t measure up to my standards today. How can I make it better? By making it myself.
What is Salisbury steak?
Hamburger steak dates back to an old European dish made with minced beef. It was often served raw like steak tartar. It became popular in the late 1800s due to its ease in preparation and low cost.
The Salisbury steak is named after Dr. James Salisbury, an American physician who promoted a meat-centered diet for American soldier’s good health during the Civil War. Minced beef was pressed together to form a patty and grilled. Once cooked it was seasoned with salt, pepper and served with Worcestershire sauce, mustard or horseradish.
Ingredients for Salisbury steak
Today, the classic Salisbury steak is more than just minced beef that is grilled. The ground beef is combined with onions, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings like salt, pepper and garlic powder. The patties are formed into ovals, to resemble steak.
It is served with a mushroom gravy that is prepared in the same pan as the meat patties. Salisbury steak is a very budget friendly meal that can be made with inexpensive 80/20 ground beef. You can also combine it with ground pork, as well.
Some people add eggs to bind the meat patty together, similarly as you do with meatballs. My recipe does not include eggs.
What kind of meat to use
Today when you see Salisbury steak recipes, they typically use ground beef. As I mentioned before, you can combine ground chicken, turkey, pork or veal if you want. I kept my recipe simple, for the budget and availability.
My recipe calls for ground sirloin, which has less fat than regular ground beef and has more ‘steak’ flavor. It is typically only 10% fat. I have made Salisbury steak with regular 80/20 ground beef, as well. Because of the extra fat, when I use 80/20 beef I omit the olive oil for browning the mushrooms and use the beef fat in the pan.
Best mushrooms for mushroom gravy
For me, the best part Salisbury steak is the mushroom gravy slathered all over it. I’m a huge fan of mushrooms, so I make sure there are plenty in this recipe. And mushrooms are so good for you, so don’t settle for less!
The other beauty about mushrooms is that you can use any kind to make this mushroom gravy. I used regular white mushrooms but I have also used cremini (aka baby bella) mushrooms and even portobello and shiitake mushrooms. Whichever mushrooms you use, be sure they are sliced for quick and uniform cooking.
Best potatoes for mashed potatoes
One of my favorite ways to serve Salisbury steak is over a generous serving of mashed potatoes! I have made mashed potatoes with a variety of different potatoes over the years. Sometimes it is just a matter of what potatoes I have on hand – and I always have potatoes on hand!
Mashed potatoes are best made with potatoes that are high in starch like Russets or Yukon golds. This makes a nice fluffy and flavorful mash. The red or white waxy potatoes can be used for mashing, but it will be a bit creamy and can easily turn into a thick goop or paste.
I have combined purple potatoes with Russets (equal parts of both) to create purple mashed potatoes. The kids got a huge kick out of that and they also got an extra does of goodness because purple potatoes are rich in polyphenol antioxidants called anthocyanins.
More side dishes to consider
And for veggies? Roasted vegetables go with any dinner, but I was feeling nostalgic. Creamed spinach was a must. This was definitely not the Hungry-Man creamed spinach of my childhood.
You can also keep it simple and serve Salisbury steak with a green salad or steamed broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus.
As I watched my kids eat up their dinner, I sat back and remembered how excited my brother and I would get for the occasional “fast food.” My mother cooked most every meal we ate, so we didn’t grow up eating processed junk.
I certainly am not going to do that my kids either. And with easy, nutritional recipes no one else has to, either.
- 4 lb russet potato, peeled and quartered
- 2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 3 lb lean ground sirloin (90% lean)
- 3 TBS Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large onion, grated
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 32 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a medium-sized pot add potatoes and 1 tsp salt and cover with water.
- Cover pot and bring water to a boil. When water comes to a boil, take lid off and reduce heat to medium-low until potatoes are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- While potatoes cook, in a medium-sized bowl combine ground sirloin, Worcestershire sauce, onion, 1 tsp salt, pepper and garlic powder until thoroughly combined.
- Form meat mixture into 8-10 large, oval patties, approximately, 1-inch thick.
- Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add meat patties into the hot skillet and cook 6 minutes on each side until meat is evenly caramelized on the outside and juices run clear.
- Remove meat, place on a serving platter and cover with loose tin foil to keep warm.
- To the hot skillet, add remaining 2 TBS olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, 3-5 minutes.
- Add flour to the mushrooms and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in beef broth and let sauce thicken, about 2 minutes more.
- While sauce thickens, drain potatoes in a colander and return the potatoes to the pot.
- Using a potato masher smash potatoes with heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
- To serve, pour gravy over Salisbury steak. Serve with potatoes.
You can use regular 80/20 ground beef. If you do, you can sauté mushrooms in remaining beef fat and will not need additional olive oil.
For potatoes, you can use also half russet potatoes and half purple potatoes to make purple mashed potatoes.
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Serving Size:1 patty
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 620Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 1138mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 47g
This post was originally published July 17, 2009. The post, recipe and photographs have all been updated.