I don’t know about you guys but I have had just about enough of all this wintery, cold weather nonsense. I know we’re in the homestretch now but the last few weeks of winter really get to me every year. It kind of feels like the last mile or two of a marathon… or, in my case, the last fifteen feet of a jog to the mailbox and back… I’m really not much of a runner.
Anyways, I know spring will get here eventually but until it does you can find me drowning my winter blues in a plate full of mushroom gravy, beef patties and mashed potatoes… because all of those things equal Salisbury Steak and Salisbury Steak equals comfort food and what is comfort food for if it’s not for comforting?
Salisbury steak isn’t really something I remember ever having at home. The Salisbury steak I grew up eating was of the school lunchroom variety; unnaturally tender “beef” patties, drowning in a pool of nondescript gravy, sitting atop a bed of rehydrated mashed potatoes. I didn’t hate it but I certainly didn’t love it either. Salisbury steak day wasn’t something to get upset over but it definitely did not generate the same kind of excitement as pizza or grilled cheese day.
Still, as I get older, I find myself increasingly susceptible to nostalgic food cravings and, at some point, despite the unremarkable impression it left on me as a child, Salisbury steak began calling my name from it’s spot in the freezer section. And each time it called for me, it convinced me that it was going to be a delicious trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, as with most of these nostalgia induced cravings, reality never quite measured up to the sentimental visions of comforting deliciousness.
I’m not sure why, but until my sister sent me her recipe, it never even occurred to me to make a homemade version. Well, it turns out that Salisbury steak can, in fact, live up to all those expectations and then some.
First of all, it can have actual, discernible flavor. Like you can actually taste the beef and mushrooms and onions. Secondly, it doesn’t just look comforting, hearty and satisfying, it actually is all of those things. And, finally, while you will have to work harder than just throwing a tray into the microwave, it’s still super easy to make and totally worth the extra effort.
Both of my kids love this recipe, mushrooms and onions included but I know that won’t necessarily be the case for all the kids and picky eaters out there so if you’re cooking for mushroom haters you can just leave them out altogether. And if you’re cooking for onion or chunky gravy haters you can reduce the onion by half and/or finely dice it rather than slicing it.
As for what to serve it over, our preference is mashed potatoes but you can really take your pick of whatever gravy soaking carb you like; egg noodles, rice, polenta and crusty bread would all work.