Swiss Steak: What does that mean to you?
I had a craving for my mom's swiss steak - which curiously is round steak pounded thin in salt/pepper/flour, then browned a bit before being covered in tomatoes, bell pepper, onion (and I SWEAR she used to put carrots in there, but she denies this), a couple of bay leaves and my own addition of a couple of chopped jalapenos and chopped celery.
So, why "that" would be "Swiss Steak" is beyond me (ahh, the 70's?), but more important... what is Swiss Steak to you? And when did it "become a thing" in your family?
For me it was the 50's with no jalapenos or celery. I was visiting my mom a few weekends ago and we made Swiss steak for dinner and I was so glad as I don't think we've cooked it together before and I never had perfected her version. We used a sirloin steak - non pounded, seasoned and browned on both sides. Top with rings thick cut rings of onion and bell pepper and a can of diced tomatoes and the addtion of bay leaf. Simmered slowly, covered, on the stove top a very very long time.
For me personally it means a dish my mother considered one of her signature dishes, and that I considered a dry stringy inedible nightmare. I first encountered it in the early 60's but Mom had been making it since the early 50's. This dish and scallops (!) are the only dinners that ever involved the classic YOU WILL NOT LEAVE THE TABLE UNTIL YOU CLEAN YOUR PLATE standoffs of childhood for me. I know it involved pounded round steak, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and a pressure cooker. One of my great regrets in my shall we say mixed relationship with my mother is that I could not have gone back and tasted her swiss steak with my adult palate - I suspect that, along with scallops and avocados, it would have turned out to be something I hated as a child and loved as an adult.