I don’t use my pressure cooker nearly enough, but during my winter staycation I used it twice! Once for this flavorful, tender Swiss steak and another time for a spicy Mexican stew/soup. (Look for that recipe in an upcoming post.)
Have no fear if you don’t own a pressure cooker, as these recipes can also be made in a Dutch oven. The cooking times will be much longer over the stove or in the oven. That is the beauty of a pressure cooker — dinner can be served in about a half hour for something that can typically take up to two hours!
I call this “old-fashioned” because it reminds me of the Swiss steaks my mom used to make for us growing up, and I imagine her mother also made this meal. It was common practice for depression-era cooks to tenderize tough cuts of meat with a heavy meat mallet. Pre-tenderized top or bottom round steak are now widely available, but if you have a good old-fashioned heavy meat mallet, you could certainly tenderize the steaks yourself.
Somehow I failed to get a photo of the actual tenderized steaks without the sauce, but yes, there is a steak under all those vegetables! My family was duly impressed with this old-fashioned meal, and I hope you will be too!
Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak
Adapted from Alton Brown/Food Network
1 to 2 pounds tenderized top round steak (or cube steak)
Ground black pepper
Mrs. Dash or salt
Flour to coat the steaks
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (freeze the rest for another use)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted with garlic)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium
Cut the tenderized steak into serving size portions. (That would be three in this household.) Season the meat with ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Dredge the steaks through flour and set aside.
Add the oil to the pressure cooker set on medium-high heat, and cook the steaks, one at a time, on both sides until browned. Remove each to a plate and set aside. Add a little more oil, if needed, in between steaks.
Add the chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Return the steaks to the pot, submerging them in the liquid as best you can.
Secure the lid, add the pressure rocker, and turn the heat to high. When the pressure regulator begins to rock, reduce the heat to medium so that it rocks steadily for 15 minutes. At the 15-minute mark, remove from heat. Let the pressure reduce on its own before removing the lid. Serve steaks over cooked rice with a side salad or vegetable.
Note: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make this in a Dutch oven. Follow the same steps, except cover the Dutch oven and cook on the middle rack in a 325-degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.