Sorry for the absence — I was in Oregon last week! More on that in a future post…
I had planned on posting this before I left, but alas, packing was a priority. I am going to date myself, but I have vivid memories of eating Swanson’s TV frozen dinners during my childhood. Not often, mind you– maybe only a handful of times. Perhaps the rarity is part of why these occasions stick out in my mind. My favorite frozen dinner was the Salisbury Steak. It came with mashed potatoes and green beans, and I think a little (overly sweetened) fruit pie too, but I might be making this part up… I loved that each item was in its own compartment in the aluminum tray dish. The whole experience was tinged with fantasy: We could pretend we were on an airplane eating a meal (yes, in those days, even in economy, meals were served on planes with silverware!) And it looked like pretend food. I know I had plastic doll food that was “served” in a similar type of divided plate. And the “steak” wasn’t steak at all, but gooey meat product shaped into an oblong oval. The TV dinner eating experience was, for my 7-year old self, the epitome of gastronomical excitement and comfort.
Flash forward some decades later. I’m a mom now, and frozen dinners have never made an appearance on our dinner table. I’m not against them — they seem to be healthier these days. I just don’t care to spend the money, I like to cook, and I think I know my adult experience of them just wouldn’t be the same. I had a hankering for Salisbury Steak a couple weeks ago though, so I decided to make it instead.
I researched several recipes online, and used bits and pieces of them to create my own. I added mushrooms to the gravy and served the steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. Jamie loved it– but I felt a pang of wistfulness that I couldn’t give him the same “magical” experience I remember… In fact, he said he’d prefer the Salisbury Steak and gravy with white rice instead — not something one would ever find in the frozen food section here in the U.S.
I, on the other hand, swooned over the flavors and textures that brought me back to my childhood.
Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
1/2 cup minced onion, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
2 teaspoons ketchup
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pound ground sirloin
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 teaspoons butter, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
13 oz. beef broth, about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1. Combine 1/3 cup onion, salt, garlic, bread crumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and beef. Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and 1 teaspoon of butter. When butter is melted, swirl to coat pan. Add patties. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove to plate and set aside.
2. Melt remaining butter in pan. Add mushrooms and rest of onions; saute 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top and stir continuously to brown flour a bit. Slowly add broth to pan while whisking and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until thick. Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes to heat through.