Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak

Old-Fashioned Swiss Steak
Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 14 mins
Total: 2 hrs 34 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
815 Calories
52g Fat
19g Carbs
67g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 815
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 52g 67%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 218mg 73%
Sodium 507mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 67g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 705mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although many might think Swiss steak comes from Switzerland, in reality, the name comes from the "swissing" technique for tenderizing meat. Tough cuts of meat go through a mechanical tenderizer, or a swissing machine, and come out the other end with cube-shaped indentations. The famous cube steak is actually the same as a Swiss steak, as the flesh on both has identifiable shapes. Use thick steaks and thin them out with a tenderizing mallet, or ask your butcher to do it for you. They might have the machine and provide you with beautifully tenderized steaks.

Our take on the classic Swiss steak starts on the stove and finishes the meat in the oven. The steak is portioned, tenderized, and slowly baked with onions and tomatoes for a full-flavored and filling dish. We tenderize our meat using flour, which helps create a crust and thickens the tomato sauce. If there are any guests with wheat allergies, simply skip the flour and reduce the sauce as much as possible before serving, so it's nicely thick. Alternatively use a cornstarch slurry at the end to obtain a thicker texture in your sauce.

For a classic Swiss steak meal, serve with green beans and mashed potatoes.

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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 pounds boneless chuck steak (or bottom round; lean)

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)

  • 2 medium onions (quartered and sliced)

  • 1 28-ounces can tomatoes (undrained, chopped)

For Thickening the Sauce:

  • Optional:

    1 tablespoon flour

  • Optional:

    1 tablespoon water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F/165 C/Gas 3.

  3. Trim fat from steak.

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  4. Season the meat with pepper and salt. Add a good amount of flour on a cutting board and place the steak on it. Sprinkle more flour over the meat and pound it with a meat hammer to tenderize. Continue to turn, flour, and pound until most of the flour is used and the steak is nice and flat and feels spongy to the touch. Set aside.

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  5. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. 

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  6. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the sliced onions. Cook, constantly stirring until the onions are translucent and lightly browned, for about 10 minutes. Remove the onions to a dish with a slotted spoon.

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  7. If needed, add another tablespoon of the remaining oil to the pan to cover its bottom.

  8. Cut the steak into 6 pieces and place them in the hot oil. If your pan isn't big enough, work in batches until all steaks are brown on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side, and there is no pink showing. If needed, use the remaining tablespoon of oil between each batch.

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  9. Place the onion on top of the steaks, add the canned tomatoes, and cover the pan. Place the meat in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the steaks are tender.

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  10. Remove the steaks, tomatos, and onions to a hot serving platter

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  11. If the remaining sauce is too thin, place the pan over medium heat. Combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir the mixture into the sauce until no lumps remain. Simmer the sauce until well thickened.

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  12. Pour the sauce over steaks.

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  13. Enjoy!

Additions and Substitutions

Here are a few additional ingredients you can add to the recipe, or substitutions that will also make a wonderful dish:

  • Use canned stewed tomatoes instead of the regular canned tomatoes.
  • Add 1 cup of sliced celery to the onions when browning, and then add the tomatoes.
  • Add 1 minced clove of garlic to the onions just before adding the tomatoes.
  • Season the sauce with a dash of oregano and a teaspoon of celery flakes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste along with the tomatoes if you'd rather not thicken it with flour.
  • Add 1/2 cup of tomato juice or low-sodium beef broth when making the final sauce if you'd like a thinner and juicier consistency.