When I think about my recipe for country-style chopped sirloin, I remember my grandmother’s Sunday dinner table laden with a platter of country-style steak, big bowls of steamed rice, creamed corn, fresh lima beans, homemade pickles, sliced tomatoes, potato salad and biscuits. This was a “small” lunch spread for our family on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, but it was called “dinner” in the South.
While these food memories are a precious part of my past, the food doesn’t have to be locked in the past as well. The wonderful aromas of gravy-smothered chopped steak and fresh vegetables can still be part of my culinary world. But because I cook mainly for one or two these days — not the 10 or 12 people my mom and grandmother cooked for each week — it’s just on a much smaller scale.
Today’s recipe is an easy version of my grandmother’s recipe, made completely from scratch, including the gravy. But before you say, “I can’t make gravy,” give it a try. If you don’t have the confidence to make it from scratch, grab an envelope of powdered gravy mix from the grocer, but use it only in case your homemade gravy doesn’t turn out right. Since you don’t add the sauteed veggies and steak back into the gravy to simmer until the end of cooking, it would be just as easy to switch out your homemade gravy with a batch whipped up in a separate pan or in the microwave.
The portion size is modest and adjusted to today’s standards. When you add a half cup of rice and steamed broccoli, this meal is not bad for you. The total dinner is just over 800 calories — a balanced dinner with all the flavors from long ago. Enjoy!
Sirloin With Old-Fashioned
Onion Mushroom Gravy
1 large egg
? cup quick oats (oatmeal)
1 cup onion, finely chopped, divided
¼ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
? tsp. ground black pepper, plus more to taste
8 oz. ground sirloin (90 percent lean)
Up to 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
About 1 cup warm water
In a large bowl, combine the egg, oats, 2 tablespoons onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and ? teaspoon pepper and mix well. Crumble the ground beef over the egg mixture. Using your hands, mix well (see note). Form into 2 patties about 3 inches wide and ¾ inch thick.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a regular (not nonstick) skillet over medium-high. Add patties and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a plate.
In the same skillet, add the remaining onion and mushrooms. Cook until onions are tender and mushrooms have released their water, about 3 minutes. Scrape onto plate with beef patties.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 to 3 teaspoons oil, enough to cover the bottom of the skillet in a thin pool. Sprinkle the flour over the oil and stir well, forming a thick paste. Continue to cook the paste until it turns a medium brown and all the bits and pieces of the beef are incorporated in the paste. Slowly and carefully add the water, stirring constantly to form the gravy.
Once the gravy comes to a low boil and begins to thicken, add the beef patties and the veggies back into the skillet. Turn the heat to low and spoon the gravy over the meat. Simmer 5 to 15 minutes, until ready to serve.
Add a few more tablespoons water if gravy becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve.
Note: Always wash your hands carefully after handling raw meat.
Makes 2 servings.
Each serving has about 432 calories, 17.5 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 194 milligrams cholesterol, 42 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 406 milligrams sodium.
Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.