If potatoes are the workhorse of the produce department, ground beef is its equivalent in the meat department. Ground beef can be used for sandwiches, meat loaf, chili, soup, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, pizza, meatballs and even as a filler in bean dishes to name a few. One of my favorite things to make with ground beef is Salisbury steak.
Salisbury steak -- named for its creator, Dr. J.H. Salisbury -- isn't a steak in the normal sense of the word, but a mixture of ground beef, onion and seasonings that's shaped into patties and either fried or broiled. It's typically served with gravy.
For many years, I used a recipe that called for the meat to be grilled and the gravy to be made separately on the stove top. It was good, but I had to time things carefully in order for the meat and gravy to be done at the same time. Several years ago, a coworker gave me a recipe for Salisbury steak that calls for the meat and gravy to be cooked together in the oven.
The original recipe called for 1/3 cup bread crumbs. This left the cooked meat patty with an extremely soft texture which made me think it wasn't cooked through, even though it was. I increased the bread crumbs to 2/3 cup and, although the texture was firmer, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I finally added a full cup of bread crumbs and the texture was perfect. If you prefer a meat patty that's not as firm, reduce the bread crumbs, but don't use less than 1/3 cup. The bread crumbs help bind the ingredients together.
Combine 1/4 cup cream of mushroom soup with ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mixing with your hands only until combined. Don't overmix or the finished product will be tough.
Shape the mixture into four patties. I make them round, but if you want them to resemble a steak, elongate the patties into an oval shape. Place the patties in a greased baking dish.
Combine the remaining soup with Worcestershire sauce, water and mushrooms. Spread the mixture evenly over the patties.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for one hour.
I like to serve Salisbury steak with macaroni and cheese which is baked at the same temperature as the meat.
Salisbury steak will never be mistaken for T-bone, New York Strip or Porterhouse, but it's an inexpensive and easy way to elevate ground beef from ho hum to wow! Not only that, cleanup is minimal with this tasty one dish recipe.