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Salisbury Steak--Not Just A Frozen Entree Anymore

If you are of a certain age, you ate a TV dinner, in front of the TV, and it was probably Salisbury Steak.  It was in an aluminum tray, and it tasted like aluminum, but maybe your mom had gotten the special dessert-included Salisbury Steak dinner, and there was a napalm-hot molten square of apple crumble goo up in the right hand corner, which was the pay-off for the whole experience. 

But Salisbury Steak exisisted before Swanson TV dinners.  It was actually Civil War era health food, named for Dr. JH Salisbury, not the city in England. Dr. Salisbury was a Paleo/Atkins sort of guy; he was the first to limit carbs for weight loss.  And he believed that humans should eat meat thrice a day!  In WW2 America, when we were shunning German names for things, folks used the term to mean hamburgers sometimes.

Here's a recipe from a 1950's all-steak cookbook my husband dredged up at a yard sale somewhere.  Best recipe in the book, too!  This is simple, tasty, and I like it with a little mashed butternut squash and either spinach or brussels sprouts on the side.



1 lb high quality lean ground beef.  I recommend grass-fed.  Get sirloin or round, not chuck.

1/2 to one teaspoon kosher salt

several generous grindings of fresh black pepper

2 tablespoons heavy cream  (Yes, really.  Have some faith.  This is good.)

COMBINE all of the above.  You can use a rubbermaid spatula or your cleany-clean hands.

FORM gently into four large hamburger-shaped patties.

NOW--pour a couple of handfuls of dried bread crumbs into a dinner plate.  Commercial ones are fine for this; I like Cento.  Gently coat the patties with crumbs.

HEAT a large skillet coated with a splash of olive oil.  A non-stick pan, if you have one, makes this recipe a hundred times easier.  You want the pan medium-hot throughout--but not hot enough to burn the crumbs.  Cook the patties, turning them four or five times.  You're going for a nice brown, and you do want to cook them through--but not dry them out.  REMOVE the patties to a warm platter.  Dump the fat (there will be a fair amount) out of the pan.  Pour in about a half cup of water, and let it bubble, scraping the browned bits into it.  When it has just started to reduce a bit, WHISK IN two tablespoons of butter and pour over the patties.  You should have just enough to give each of them a bit of a bath.

This takes doing it a few times to get it right, but it's worth the practicing.  A perfect weeknight dinner, and feeds three or four easy.  Or two absurdly hungry piggy folks :).

See you on the air at four PM today! 


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