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Homemade Salisbury Steak Recipe with tender beef patties in a rich and flavorful mushroom gravy.
If you were around in the late 1950’s or 1960’s, chances are you ate at least one previously frozen meal out of a compartmentalized aluminum tray baked in the oven. These heat-and-serve ‘TV dinners’ were very popular in the 1960’s and, dare I say, beloved by housewives everywhere! They were called TV dinners because they were often eaten while watching TV, on a collapsible table called a TV tray.
One of the more popular TV dinners was, of course, Salisbury Steak, served with mashed potatoes, green beans and some sort of 2-inch square dessert. But if a frozen TV dinner has been your only life experience with Salisbury steak, you’ve been missing out!
What is Salisbury Steak?
Hearty, homemade Salisbury steak is a simple dish, made with a few basic ingredients.
Salisbury steak was invented by Dr. James Salisbury in the late 1800’s, around the time of the American Civil War. Dr. Salisbury believed that eating mostly ground meat was healthy and better for your gut than fruits and root vegetables.
Dr. Salisbury tested his theories during the Civil War, treating chronic diarrhea among Union soldiers with a diet of chopped-up meat and little else. After 30 years of research he published his ideas, setting off one of the earliest American fad diets.
Now, of course, we know that moderation is the key to healthy eating. The occasional meal made with beef is perfectly acceptable. Next time ground meat is on your menu, try this homemade Salisbury steak recipe with an amazing brown gravy and thrill your family with a beloved classic.
How to make Salisbury Steak from scratch
To make the beef patties:
- Combine lean ground beef with one egg, unseasoned bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of soy sauce and seasonings. Form the mixture into oval patties then brown in a hot skillet.
- The beef patties can be formed, covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance. I LOVE make-ahead options!
- Add your favorite spices. We use granulated garlic and onion powder in our meat mixture, as written in the recipe. If you have a favorite seasoning blend, use that instead of, or in addition to, the garlic and onion powders.
- We start with unseasoned bread crumbs as a binder. If you only have seasoned bread crumbs on hand, give it a go. Panko bread crumbs are also a nice substitute and in a pinch you can use crushed saltine crackers with good results. Remember, we’re not trying to make meat loaf. We’re just adding a few spices and binders to help the beef stay moist and tender.
To make the mushroom gravy:
- The beefy mushroom gravy is made in the same skillet used to brown the beef. All those little bits of flavor enhancers kick start the luscious sauce.
- You’ll need mushrooms, a large shallot, garlic, thyme, flour, tomato paste, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. No canned mushroom soup is needed for our recipe.
- Cook the mushrooms, undisturbed, until well browned. Next, add the minced shallot, garlic and thyme. Finally add the flour, tomato paste and beef broth. Return the beef to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
- If you don’t have a shallot on hand, use half an onion.
- Fresh thyme leaves are my favorite herb, but dried thyme works well, too.
What are the best kind of mushrooms to use in this gravy?
- Any small white or brown mushrooms work in this recipe. I prefer small cremini or baby Bella mushrooms, but button mushrooms are good, too.
- Trim the tough ends off the stems and slice the mushrooms to about 1/4-inch thick. Cleaning and slicing mushrooms takes a while, but it’s worth every minute spent prepping.
- Or, purchase pre-sliced mushrooms for an easy shortcut.
Once all the ingredients are prepped, Salisbury steak comes together in about 30-minutes.
What goes with Salisbury steak?
Our favorite way to serve Salisbury steak is spooned over a pile of buttery mashed potatoes. You can also serve the ground beef steaks over buttered egg noodles, or white or brown rice. You’ll also need a dinner roll or two for sopping up the gravy, just saying.
What are some good sides to go with Salisbury steak?
Our favorite sides for Salisbury steak are oven roasted green beans, asparagus, peas, steamed broccoli or a nice green salad. Homemade Lion House or Parker House Rolls are incredible served with this homey dish.
Tips for making the best Salisbury Steak:
- 90% lean is our preferred ground beef for these hamburger steaks. If using ground beef with a higher fat ratio, drain off part of the rendered fat after the beef patties are cooked.
- Take your time to ensure the beef patties are well browned in the first step. They’ll still be raw in the middle but will finish cooking in the gravy.
Add additional vegetable oil, olive oil or butter to the skillet, if needed.
- Since we start with lean beef, I use a splash of vegetable oil to sear the patties. If you feel it needs more, add another teaspoon or two to the skillet.
- Use a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Spread the mushrooms in the hot pan and don’t touch them for a full 5 minutes, or until they’re well browned on one side. They’ll start to shrink up and release their moisture and turn a beautiful golden color. This helps build flavor into the dish, so don’t skip this step!
Once the mushrooms are golden brown and the shallots, thyme and garlic are added, sprinkle flour over the vegetables.
- If the mixture is too dry to soak up all the flour, add another tablespoon of butter, or a splash of olive oil.
- Cook the flour mixture for the full 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Creating the fond on the bottom of the skillet and browning the flour is one of the ways to build flavor in this dish.
Start with 2 1/2 cups of beef broth.
- If you prefer a thicker gravy, use 2 1/2 cups beef stock or broth. If you typically like a thinner gravy, add the full 3 cups beef broth.
- The gravy will thicken as it cooks, so be patient.
- After cooking for a full 10 minutes if the gravy is too thin, add a little Wondra flour or a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with cold water to thicken.
- Freeze leftover beef broth for use in other recipes.
Some mushrooms contain more moisture than others, and some ground beef can be a little less fatty. These variables can cause the gravy to be a little thicker, or thinner. Our Salisbury Steak recipes comes out different every time I make it so use your best judgment and adapt as needed.
My family loves Salisbury steak and I bet yours will too. Make it for dinner tonight!
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Salisbury Steak Recipe with Mushroom Gravy
For the beef patties:
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ⅓ cup unseasoned bread crumbs (53g)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic, garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef (90% lean)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or olive oil
For the mushroom gravy:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large shallot, minced (or half sweet onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ¼ teaspoon dried
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, if needed
- 2 ½ - 3 cups low-sodium beef broth or stock, divided
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
To prepare the beef patties:
- In a large bowl whisk the egg until lightly beaten. Add the bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic, onion powder and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the ground beef and knead gently until combined. Form the beef into four ½-inch thick oval patties. (At this point, the beef patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef patties until well browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the mushroom gravy:
- Return the now-empty skillet to the stove over medium-high heat (do not wipe out). Add 2 tablespoons butter. Once melted add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until the mushrooms are well browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir and turn the mushrooms and continue cooking until the moisture is released, and the mushrooms are browned.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and shallots to the pan with the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom/shallot mixture and add the tomato paste. IF NEEDED add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to soak up the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add 2 ½ cups of the beef broth, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer. (Reserve the remaining ½ cup of broth and add if needed to thin, for desired consistency.)
- Return the patties and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes flipping the patties halfway through. Remove from the heat and transfer the beef patties to a platter. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce into the gravy and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over the beef and serve.
- Once formed into patties, the beef can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or over egg noodles, garnished with fresh parsley, if desired.
- Purchase pre-sliced mushrooms for an easy shortcut.
Here are a few more comfort food recipes you might enjoy: