But the name comes from Doctor Salisbury! I imagined it was just named after a place – Salisbury Hill? Apparently James Henry Salisbury, a 19th century British physician was a big advocate of lots of meat -- red meat, no less -- in the diet, contrary to everything we read today. He believed that vegetables and starchy foods could produce substances that poison and paralyze the body’s tissues and cause everything from heart disease to tuberculosis to gout.
He claimed our teeth are "meat teeth" and our digestive systems designed to digest lean meat, and that vegetables, fats, starches and fruit should only be 1/3 of our diet. Starch is digested slowly, so it ferments in the stomach and produces vinegar, acid, alcohol and yeast, all of which were poisonous to our systems, he claimed.
His “meat cure” was a special diet that included Salisbury Steak, which should be eaten three times a day (!), with plenty of water to flush the body’s system.
All pretty interesting and certainly a signal that I was to try Salisbury Steak at home. I'm a great guinea pig. I don’t think I’ve ever had it. I’m always looking for different ways to use ground meat because we have a freezer full of beef/venison mix. (Talk about local! Some of beef is from Dude who lives down the road, and some of the venison, from our own woods.)
My husband could live – happily – on hamburgers three days a week. Probably pizza at least two of the others. I like just a little more variety. So when a sample of Cuisine At Home arrived with a recipe for French Onion Salisbury Steak in it, I earmarked it. Then, I saw a blog I follow, Casa en la Cocina, * posted another version. Karma strikes again. The photo in the Cuisine at Home made the glorified hamburger look very much like a steak. What really makes it special is the sauce, a little in the cooking method, and definitely the shape. It’s shaped into a nice oval, not round like a regular hamburger. I suppose that nurtures the notion of “steak.” I know we thought it was great comfort food for this winter that doesn’t seem to want to take a break.
from Cuisine at Home
1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef
¼ cup minced parsley
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons shallot-pepper seasoning (from Penzey's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
¼ dry red wine
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Combine the ground meat, parsley, shallot-pepper seasoning (or substitute freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and increase the amount of chopped onions to ½ cup.)
Divide the mixture evenly into four patties and shape into ¾ inch to 1 inch thick oval patties. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge each patty in the flour. (Reserve 1 teaspoon flour for the sauce.)
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook about three minute on each side or until browned and remove from pan.
Add the onion and sugar to the pan and cook about 3 to four minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another two minutes longer. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Cook until the paste begins to turn brown in color, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the reserved flour over and cook 1 minute. Then add the broth and wine, salt and thyme.
Return the meat to the pan; bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle a little fresh parsley and grated Parmesan if you’d like. I served the steaks on top of lightly buttered noodles with peas and spooned the sauce over all.
Makes 4 steaks.
*What I did differently from Cuisine at Home was to use sweet onions instead of scallions in the meat mixture as well as use the Penzey's shallot-pepper seasoning instead of shallots and pepper. I also added mushrooms to the sauce mixture. The magazine's recipe also suggests serving the steaks atop cheese toasts.
* Mary's, Casa en la Cocina, birthday is Friday, January 28. Stop by and wish her a happy! *