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Salisbury steak

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Ok Chowhounds My Mum is looking for a recipe for Salisbury steak.
She has been disappointed with all the ones she has found on the net because “They all seemed to call for ketchup and packaged onion soup”
Dose anyone have a good recipe that uses real ingredients, and no ketchup.
She use good quality meat and has all the standard kitchen goodies.
And no I don’t know why she just doesn’t open “Joy” or “Julia”, sigh but that’s what a good daughter dose, gets the info she wants, the way she wants it (grin)

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  1. Hi WildRose, I used to make a dish called Salisbury steak a lot of years ago. I went to Google to be sure I was remembering correctly and was amazed to see that the recipes called for ground beef. Is that what your mom uses? My Salisbury steak started out with round steak, with a lot of seasoned flour pounded into it. So what was I making all those years? Or is my rendition just a variation? Now I'm confused! Pat

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      Sounds like you were making "Swiss Steak". This was a pretty common way to deal with cheap beef a few decades ago.

      1. re: Sharuf

        Oh yeah! As they say, " Never mind". pat

      2. re: Pat Hammond

        sounds like swiss steak

      3. Your best source will probably be those ring-binder cookbooks that every church group/ladies' auxiliary/Association of Clerks of Court etc put out as fund-raisers. The best I can do DOES have ketchup in the sauce (I might substitute Heinz 57)

        From a handwritten note in he family archives: dates to the 1950's by my guess.

        ground beef (2 lbs)
        4 Tblsp chopped onion
        2 Tbls finely chopped green onion
        garlic, chopped fine
        parsely, chopped fine
        salt/pepper to taste
        paprika, 1/4 to 1/2 teasp


        butter 3 Tblsp
        ketchup 1/2 cup
        Lea & Perrins 1 Tablesp
        dry mustard 1/2 tsp
        sherry 3 0r 4 Tablsp.

        Combine frst list through paprika for your burgers. Make into thick patties, dredge in flour, drizzle oilive oil over them and grill to desired doneness.

        Melt butter and other sauce ingredients together. Add sherry at the end. Pour over beef

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hazelhurst

          Thank you Hazelhurst but it seems that’s the problem. All the recipes she has been finding have been those 1950’s Midwest church supper type. What she is looking for is what she use to eat in Canada/England in the 40’s 50’s. It had a brown gravy perhaps with a bit of onion but no ketchup or bottled souses of any kind. I think what “TV Dinners” use to make is closer to what she is looking for than anything else.

          I must say I think its neat that you have a hand written note with a family recipe. I think we have two like that, one for bread, and one for a lemon desert. Perhaps I will pass on my Hard Drive to my children so they can have my recipes

        2. s

          Have some for you, if you want me to look more let me know.

          From Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking (1947)

          1-1/2 # Ground Beef
          1-1/2 t salt
          Pepper to taste
          2 t grated onion
          1 egg, beaten
          Melted Butter

          Purchase meat in the piece and have it ground once. Combine all ingredients except butter, mixing thoroughly but lightly. On a buttered shallow baking pan, mold the meat into the shape of an oblong, oval or rectangle to fit platter, making it about 1-1/4" thick and pushing edges up so they will be square like a steak. Brush top and sides with melted butter and place in a hot (450) oven. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately slow (325) to finish cooking, which will take about 25 minutes longer. Brush with butter once or twice during baking. Slide carefully onto hot platter, using pancake turner. Serve with sauteed mushrooms, french-fried onions or tomato sauce, if desired, or with more melted butter. 5 servings.

          From the McCalls Cookbook (1963)


          1-1/2 # ground chuck
          3/4 cup raw quick-cooking oats
          1/4 c chopped onion
          2 t salt
          1/4 t pepper
          1 egg
          1/2 c tomato juice

          Combine all ingredients in large bowl. On rack of broiler pan, shape meat mixture to resemble 1-1/2" porterhouse steak. Broil 4 inches from heat; for medium rare, broil 7 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on other.

          >I can see why most recipes call for the ketchup and onion-soup mix to "pep" things up. If I were going to do this I would probably have a chuck roast coarsely ground (once, as in the first recipe) and add a little tabasco or worchester sauce and do a modified marchand du vin sauce with lots of mushrooms and onions and maybe a little mustard.

          1. Thank you all and sorry for the double posts, but they seem to have been cleared up.
            More from the Mum front. she says "Will try that, but the recipe I remember contained fresh bread crumbs soaked in milk, and I can't find it anywhere"
            I think its how the housekeeper made them, sigh. Anyway thanks again.

            3 Replies
            1. re: WildRose
              Stanley Stephan

              No milk, but mushroom sauce. Don't know if this is any help. I searched around and found my mom's old recipe (we lived in NEW England). Can't give you specifics like what type of fat or what type of stock.

              Felecia's Salsbury Steak

              2 cups mushroom sauce
              1 1/2 pounds ground beef
              1/2 bread crumbs
              1/4 cup finely chopped onion
              1 egg, slightly beaten

              In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix 1/4 cup sauce, beef bread crumbs, onion and egg. Firmly shape into patties.
              Heat skillet over medium heat until hot. Add patties: cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned. Pour off fat. Strir remaining sauce into skillet. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes sirring occasionally.

              Mushroom Sauce

              4 tablespoons flour
              4 tablespoons fat
              2 tablespoons chopped onion
              1 cup sliced fresh or canned mushrooms
              2 cups stock
              Salt and pepper to taste

              Brown flour in saucepan. In another pan, melt fat. Saute mushrooms and onions until slightly brown. Remove from fat. Add flour to fat. Mix well. Add stock gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Add onions and mushrooms. Season with salt and peper to taste. Simmer 2 minutes.

              1. re: WildRose

                The bread and milk that Mum is referring to is a "panade" in French cooking--bread, breadcrumbs or cracker meal mixed with milk to form a paste. It is the secret to tender gound meat products. I use about a third cup each of cracker meal and milk to 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat and one egg as the basis for meatloaf, meatballs and panfried ground beef patties that my mother called "koteletten". The meat mixture for the latter is flavored with fresh garlic, salt and some ketchup. If one wishes to avoid ketchup, the milk in the panade can be replaced with tomato juice or V8. The patties are shaped, rolled in cracker crumbs and then sauteed in vegetable oil until cooked through, browned and crispy on both sides. If a similar meat mixture were flavored with chopped onion instead of garlic, shaped into squares, cooked at lower heat until cooked through but not crisp and then served with a brown gravy--voila! Salisbury steak!

                1. re: WildRose

                  Was the soaked bread added to the meat (as mentioned, a panade), or used as thickener in the gravy.

                  There is a British gravy called bread sauce

                2. Have not checked this story, but: Originally this dish was referred to as Hamburger Steak. Then came The Great War (aka WW I), and lots of names got changed from more -Saxon to more Anglo-. Hence the Battenberg family became the Mountbattens, and Hamburger Steak turned into Salisbury.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CTer

                    There was a Dr Salisbury in the 19th c who promoted an Atkins like diet. A simple ground beef patty was his favorite food. As you note his name came to be attached to the more seasoned version (with gravy) as a result of WW 1 sentiments.

                  2. We have always just made large patties from a good grade of ground beef and lightly seasoned them with salt and pepper. We then carmelize a couple of large sweet onions in a seperate pan. Grill or fry the patties when done serve with the onions atop. If you want to serve mashed potatoes you can make some au jus it's easiest to use Knorr package brand. This avoids the whole ketchup recipe.

                    1. Below is the one I have used for several years.

                      Salisbury Steak with Onion Mushroom Gravy

                      1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
                      1 jar (12 ounces) beef gravy*, divided (in original recipe; can use beef gravy listed below)
                      1 egg
                      1/2 cup bread crumbs
                      1/2 tsp. salt
                      1/4 tsp. pepper
                      1/4 tsp. onion powder
                      1 small onion, thinly sliced
                      1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced, or 1 jar (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms
                      1/4 cup water

                      Combine beef, 1/4 cup gravy, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and onion powder; mix well. Shape into 6 oval patties.

                      Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Brown patties over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

                      In same skillet, saute onions and mushrooms until tender. Stir in gravy and water and simmer for 1 minute. Return beef to skillet; cover and cook another 10 minutes, or until beef is cooked to desired doneness.

                      Beef Gravy

                      1/4 cup butter
                      1/4 cup all-purpose flour
                      1 1/2 cups beef stock
                      1 1/2 t beef base
                      1 T onion powder
                      1 T garlic powder
                      Black pepper, to taste
                      Splash of Worcestershire sauce or Kitchen Bouquet, if desired

                      Melt butter in skillet. Add flour; stir and cook until roux is golden brown or a little darker. Add beef stock, beef base, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and Worcestershire or Kitchen Bouquet, if used. Whisk to assure no lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened.

                      1. I just made the popular recipe on all the websites with french onion soup,horrible. First off I hate bread crumbs so when I see that I know it's not going to be good. I added a bit too much of the onion soup to the meat and it gave it a wierd consistency all in all I would give it a C-. Not that Salisbury steak is some gourmet dish, it's comfort food a hamburger steak dinner with all the comfort food trimmings.

                        1. I know some like to bash Rachel Ray, but I've made them several times pretty much following her recipe. She does have more than one recipe for them, but thay all have 5 stars

                            1. Growing up in the 60's Mom's classic Salisbury Steak was simply meatloaf made into patties and cooked in beef gravy with a little ketchup added to make it a little on the red side.
                              Swiss Steak was made with round steak and cooked for hours with onions, Then thickened with flour so it was like a gravy.

                              1. I'm honestly not trying to be a smart-ass, but what's the difference between a salbury steak and a hamburger patty? They both sound to be very similar, or even identical dare I say.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Midknight

                                  To me, Salisbury Steak is more like a mini-meatloaf than a burger. It's larger & thicker, & always served plated with a nice gravy - usually onion-scented.

                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                    I just realized that all the original posts on this thread are a decade old. A classic case of 'people responding to old threads without paying attention to the date'. Not that it matters much with a topic that dates back a century.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      I don't think it matters either. The Earl of Salisbury would still be proud :)

                                      Just curious to those that post to old threads and don't notice the date....don't you notice that the poster names are all in small, black, different fonts? It seems so obvious to me, so if I don't notice the *date*, I always notice the font.

                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        The history of that title (E of S) reminds me of some threads - repeatedly dying out (often due to execution) followed a revival.

                                2. The best recipe I've found is from the Cook's Country magazine (part of Cook's Illustrated). It is available here:


                                  You have to register but it is free. This has a good brown gravy. No soup, no ketchup!

                                  1. My husband could live on this! I make it a lot in the winter time.

                                    Salisbury Steak

                                    2 lbs Lean Ground Beef
                                    2/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
                                    ½ tsp Salt
                                    ½ tsp Pepper
                                    2 Eggs
                                    Half a diced onion

                                    Slice the other half of the onion for the gravy

                                    2 Cans Condensed Beef Broth
                                    Package of sliced mushrooms
                                    4 T. Cornstarch
                                    4 T Water
                                    2 – Packets Brown Gravy Mix

                                    Mix First 6 ingredients together and shape into ovals about ¾ inches thick. Cook patties in a skillet turning once until just seared on both sides (will be rare, but finishes cooking in the oven). Set patties aside in a casserole dish (or 13 x 9 pan) Saute the mushrooms and onion. Add one can of beef broth. Heat to boiling. Mix the other can of beef broth, water, cornstarch and 2 packets of gravy together (I shake it in a jar). Add to boiling mixture with a wire whisk and whisk until gravy begins to thicken. I then pour the gravy over the patties in the casserole dish and bake at 350 until bubbly.
                                    Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or noodles.