When you think about Swiss steak, your mind probably goes straight to fondue or lasagna.
But did you know there was once a time when this style of meat was actually called “swiss steak”?
This dish can be traced back to Switzerland, where it was originally created by a chef at a hotel in Davos.
As the story goes, he cooked up this delicious treat while working on his menu one day, but couldn’t figure out what to call it.
So, he went around asking people who visited the restaurant if they had any ideas.
After hearing several suggestions, he decided to go with “Swiss steak” because it sounded good.
And so, this now-famous dish made its way into the hearts of those who enjoyed it.
What is swiss steak?
Swiss steak is a cut of beef that is typically served grilled or pan-fried.
The meat is usually sliced very thin, which allows for maximum exposure to the heat of the grill or pan.
This process also helps to create a crispy exterior, which is perfect for dipping into an accompanying sauce.
The most common preparation method for Swiss steak involves slicing the beef into strips, then mixing them together with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder before tossing them onto a hot cast iron skillet or griddle.
Once the meat starts to brown, you add some oil, then flip it over to cook the other side until it reaches the desired doneness.
Finally, you serve the meat with a variety of sauces, such as chimichurri, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or ketchup.
What is the difference between Swiss steak and regular steak?
The word “steak”, as we all know, refers to a cut of meat from an animal’s rib, loin, or flank.
The cuts are typically very thick, making them ideal for cooking over high heat.
The word “Swiss” is derived from the German word Schweizer, which means “Swiss”, although it’s not clear how exactly this came to be associated with Switzerland.
Swiss steak is usually cut from the chuck (the part of the cow’s shoulder) and is typically sold whole.
It comes from the same area as filet mignon, and is usually cut into strips rather than being sliced across the grain.
This makes it a bit tougher, but also adds to the flavor.
Swiss steak is often served medium rare, but can also be cooked to order.
For example, some restaurants will grill it until it reaches medium-rare, then finish it off with a quick sear on the stovetop just before serving.
Regular steak, meanwhile, is typically cut from the bottom half of the steer.
It’s thinner than Swiss steak, so it cooks faster.
Beef tenderloin is another popular cut of beef that’s similar to Swiss steak, but it’s more expensive and therefore less common.
How is Swiss steak prepared?
The basic steps for preparing Swiss steak include removing the outer layer from the beef, then seasoning the outside of the steak before cooking it.
Once the steak is ready, it will need to be sliced very thin to make sure that every bite is juicy and tender.
Here’s how to do it!
Step 1: Remove the outer layer of the steak
For best results, remove the outer layer (the tough membrane) from the steak before cutting it.
This will help ensure that the inside of the steak is as tender as possible.
Use a knife to cut along the natural seams of the steaks.
Then use your fingers to carefully separate the muscle fibers from each other.
Cut away the fat from the top half of the steak until you get to the bone.
Step 2: Season the steak
After removing the outer layer of the steak, season it with salt and pepper on both sides.
You can also add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, or even cayenne pepper for extra flavor.
You want to season the steak well so that it gets nice and crispy on the grill.
Step 3: Cook the steak
Next, heat up an outdoor grill or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
Then place the steak onto the hot surface and cook for about five minutes per side.
Flip the steak over and cook the other side for another five minutes.
What are the ingredients in Swiss steak?
The most important ingredient in Swiss steak is fresh beef.
You want to use the best cut of beef you can get your hands on.
This could be sirloin tip, tenderloin, top round, eye of round, rump roast, flank steak, or chuck steak.
The choice really depends on your taste and how much money you have to spend.
You also need to make sure your beef isn’t too old.
Some cuts of beef will become tough as nails after being frozen for a long period of time, which makes them unsuitable for Swiss steak.
So, look for a USDA grade 1, 2, or 3 beef that is no more than nine months old.
Next, you’ll need to pick up some seasonings.
These include salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and parsley.
In addition, you’ll want to add some Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice to create a tangy flavor profile.
And finally, you’ll need some cooking equipment.
A cast iron skillet works well for this recipe, but other large skillets will do just fine.
Also, you’ll need a pair of tongs and a cutting board to prepare the beef.
Keep reading to learn what else you need to know about Swiss steak.
- 1 ½ pounds round steak
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or as needed
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes with juice 28 ounces
- 1 can beef broth 10 oz
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional, see note below
What is the history of Swiss steak?
The origin of Swiss steak is unclear, but we do know that it has been popular in Switzerland since the early 20th century.
The first recipe for Swiss steak appeared in 1925, which gave us an idea of how long the dish has been around.
It was also during this time that Swiss steak became well known outside of Switzerland.
In fact, it was even featured as part of the famous New York World’s Fair in 1939.
The fair took place from July through November that year, and included many iconic attractions like the Empire State Building and the Ferris wheel.
One of the restaurants at the fair was the Swiss Steak House, which served authentic Swiss steak to hungry visitors.
Although Swiss steak isn’t exactly something that you’ll see on most American menus today, it has become increasingly popular in recent years.
We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of some of the best places to enjoy it near you.
How popular is Swiss steak?
If you’ve never heard of Swiss steak before, then you’re definitely not alone.
This is because it’s not as well known as other types of steak, such as filet mignon or rib eye.
In fact, it’s estimated that only 1 percent of Americans have ever eaten Swiss steak.
That means that 99 percent of us don’t know anything about this tasty meal.
And yet, Swiss steak is a favorite among people all over the world, especially those living outside of the U.S.
For example, it’s the most popular steak option for diners in Canada, Sweden, Germany, and Australia, according to a survey conducted by the National Beef Council.
And it’s also one of the most popular steaks in China.
But why do people love Swiss steak so much?
Well, there are several reasons.
For starters, it’s incredibly easy to prepare.
You just need a few ingredients and a little bit of time.
Plus, it’s inexpensive, which makes it ideal for families looking to save money.
Another reason Swiss steak is so popular is because it tastes great.
The key here is to cook it properly.
If you grill or pan-fry it too long, it will become tough and chewy.
So, the best way to make sure it tastes great is to use a medium-rare cut of beef and let it rest for 10 minutes after cooking.
Then, slice it thinly across the grain to get a nice bite every time.
While Swiss steak isn’t as common as other types of steak, it’s still very popular worldwide.
So, if you want to try it out, keep reading to find out more about this classic dish!
What are some common Swiss steak toppings?
If you’re looking for a great recipe, you may want to try something more traditional than your average steakhouse dish.
For example, you could add mashed potatoes, sautéed onions, and even garlic butter to make your own homemade version.
You can also use this as an opportunity to get creative with your meal.
Try adding sliced mushrooms, pickles, or peppers to give it a little kick.
If you have a grill at home, you can cook your steak on it too.
You can even put it over a bed of fire-roasted tomatoes for a unique twist.
But perhaps the most common topping you see on a plate of Swiss steak is cheese.
There are plenty of different types of cheeses available to pair with Swiss steak, including cheddar, mozzarella, blue cheese, and others.
The best thing about using cheese as a topping is that it will melt right off the top during cooking, leaving you with perfectly melted gooeyness all over your steak.
What are some common side dishes served with Swiss steak?
One thing that makes Swiss steak popular is how easy it is to prepare.
You don’t have to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove, just to get something as simple as this dish done right.
Plus, it’s not only tasty, but also full of protein and nutrients which will help keep you healthy and strong.
You can choose from two main types of Swiss steak: the original version and the Italian version.
The original Swiss steak is typically grilled on top of a grill and then sliced into thin strips before being dipped in flour and pan fried.
This version is often paired with mashed potatoes and gravy for dipping.
The Italian version adds mushrooms and onions to the mix, making it even sweeter and more flavorful.
Another classic pairing for Swiss steak is broccoli rabe.
This vegetable is rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium, folate, and iron.
It also contains powerful antioxidants which can help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Other great side dishes include green beans and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
Green beans contain vitamin K, an essential nutrient that helps prevent blood clotting.
They also provide your body with plenty of fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Mashed potatoes are high in carbohydrates, which gives us energy.
But not all carbs are bad, especially when they come from whole foods like potatoes.
In addition, mashed potatoes contain vitamin B6, which helps our bodies produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy and relaxed.
How do you make Swiss steak more tender?
The key to making Swiss steak tender is to cook it slowly and low-and-slow.
You want to avoid letting the meat overcook, as it will become tough and chewy.
To accomplish this, cook the steak on the stovetop over medium heat, using a pan large enough to hold the entire piece of meat without touching each other.
This method also helps to keep the steak from drying out, which makes it easier to cut into bite-sized pieces later.
If you don’t have a pan big enough to fit the whole steak, you can use a Dutch oven instead.
Just place the steak in the pot and cover it with water.
Bring the water to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering the meat for 30 minutes to an hour.
Then, turn off the heat and let the steak sit covered until it’s cool enough to handle.
Next, you need to slice the steak thinly across the grain.
If you can find a machine to do this for you, that would be ideal.
Otherwise, you can do it manually by slicing the steak very thin (about 1/8th of an inch thick) and then cutting across the slices to create long strips.
Make sure to cut the slices against the grain, not with it.
After slicing the steak, pat it dry to remove excess moisture.
Now, season the meat with salt and pepper.
Next, coat both sides of the sliced steak with flour, shaking off any extra after it’s done.
You should also add a bit of oil to the flour mixture to help prevent the meat from sticking to itself.
What are some tips for cooking Swiss steak?
If you want to learn how to cook Swiss steak properly, you should consider yourself well versed in the art of grilling.
You should also have a grill pan on hand to use as needed.
First, take the steak out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
Then, season it with salt and pepper to taste.
Next, rub it all over with olive oil.
Finally, place it on a hot grill and cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).
The key here is to avoid overcooking the meat.
If you wait too long before serving it, the meat will become tough and dry.
So, keep an eye on it throughout the entire process.
When the steak is almost done, add a little bit of butter to the grill pan and heat it briefly.
This will help create a nice crust on the meat.
Then, flip it over and let it cook for another few minutes.
Serve immediately after removing it from the grill to ensure it doesn’t get cold.
Another great tip is to leave the steak alone for a short period of time after placing it on the grill, which allows the juices to settle.
This gives the meat a better flavor and texture.
If you don’t have a grill, you can always cook it under the broiler.
The only downside is that it takes longer to cook than on a grill, since you have to watch it carefully.
However, you can still achieve great results if you follow these steps:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius)
Season the steak with salt and pepper to taste
Dip the steak in melted butter, then coat it with flour
Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake it for 15-20 minutes
Finally, remove it from the oven and serve it immediately.
Now that you know how to cook Swiss steak, you may wonder why it isn’t served more often.
Well, most restaurants tend to cut back on their menu options during the summer months, due to less demand.
And, considering that Swiss steak requires a lot of preparation, many chefs choose not to spend time making it when they have other dishes to prepare.
What Is Swiss Steak?
- 1 broiler
- 1 oven
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius)
- Season the steak with salt and pepper to taste
- Dip the steak in melted butter, then coat it with flour
- Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake it for 15-20 minutes
- Finally, remove it from the oven and serve it immediately.