Sunday, October 2, 2016

Grandpa's Swiss Steak

Grandpa's Swiss Steak, mashed potatoes, homemade dinner rolls
and green beans - it's what's for dinner!

I haven't posted in over a year, and since my wife's been after me to write this up for a while now I thought it was a good place to start again.

It feels appropriate somehow that my first post in such a long time is a recipe that came from my grandfather.  I learned how to cook from watching both my mother and my grandfather, but it was my grandfather that taught me from a very young age that it was not only okay, but actually a good thing for a guy to be comfortable in the kitchen - for that I will be forever grateful.

This one's for you, Grandpa.

My grandfather owned a restaurant in downtown Kansas City, KS.  I don't remember it because it closed somewhere around the time I was born.  From everything I've been told it was basically a diner type of restaurant that served plenty of good, down-home cooking.

This is one of his recipes.  He wrote it down for me when I got married 30 years ago and asked him for some of his recipes so I'd be able to try to make some of my favorite foods here in Connecticut.

I've made small tweaks here and there but not many - and the basic steps and the idea are all from him.

So enjoy - and if you like it, say a thank you to my grandfather!

Ingredients laid out and ready


  • 2 lb round steak or pork tenderloin (sliced)*
  • 4 tbsp flour for dredging steak
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1 c vegetable oil (You need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/4 inch.  This should take about 1/2 the oil.  The rest will be used to add more as needed to keep the same level of oil in the pan after browning each batch of meat.) 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 c beef broth, water or a combination of both (Beef broth will give a richer flavor but water works just as well.)
  • 2 tbsp Mac Brothers Beef Rub (Chili powder will work also.)

* When my grandfather made this, he used round steak and pounded it with a meat hammer to tenderize it.  I have made it that way but I have also used cubed steak which has the added benefit of already being tenderized.  My wife isn't fond of beef so lately I've been making it with pork instead.


  1. Pound round steak or pork tenderloin until it's tender. (If you use cube steak you can skip this step.  When I use pork, I ask the butcher if they can run it through the "cubing" machine or meat tenderizer.  It does a better job than I can by hand and it's REALLY easy when you can get them to do it!).  
    Tenderized and seasoned steak (or pork in this case)
  2. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. (I prefer to use Lawry's salt but any will do.)
  3. Dredge in flour
  4. Dredge in flour.
  5. Place dredged steak/pork in pan with 1/4 in deep oil
  6. Fill skillet to about 1/4 inch deep with oil and place on medium heat.
  7. Brown both sides in hot oil
  8. Brown both sides in hot oil.      
  9. Place browned steak/pork in casserole dish
  10. Remove browned steak/pork from pan and place in casserole dish.  Repeat until all steak is cooked, adding additional oil if necessary.  
  11. Put onions/celery/peppers in pan with oil
    Sauté until soft
  12. When all meat has been browned, put the diced onions and celery (and green peppers if you are using them) in the pan where you browned the meat and sauté them until soft.  This should take about 5-8 minutes.
  13. At this point you want about 1/2 cup of oil in the pan.  Either pour off any extra or add a bit more to have this amount in the pan.  
  14. Flour added to vegetable mixture
  15. Add 1/2 cup flour to the pan (the onion/celery/green pepper mixture should stay in the pan also).
  16. Tomato sauce just starting to be added to flour mixture
  17. Mix together well and cook over medium heat for two minutes, stirring constantly 
  18. Add the tomato sauce a bit at a time, stirring constantly
  19. After adding broth/water to flour/tomato sauce mixture.
    End result should be a thick tomato based gravy.
  20. Start adding the broth (or water) a small amount at a time while stirring it in.  The flour/vegetable mixture will absorb the liquid.  Continue adding liquid and stirring.  It should take most of the liquid.  You want it to end up the thickness of gravy.
  21. Gravy mixture poured over the meat
  22. Add Mac Brothers Beef Rub (or chili powder).  My grandfather's recipe said that you wanted to add just enough to "color it good".  You can actually use as much or as little seasoning as you'd like to achieve the flavor you want (more will generally make it hotter).
  23. Pour the gravy/vegetable mixture over the meat in the casserole dish.  If you have a smaller casserole dish, you can put the meat in layers, just be certain to cover each layer with the gravy mixture.
  24. Finished and out of the oven
  25. Bake covered for about an hour at 350 degrees.
  26. Enjoy!
Mashed potatoes with tomato and vegetable gravy

I usually cook baked or mashed potatoes with it - both seem to go equally well covered with the gravy.

Finished product!!