Easy, Frugal and Surprisingly Tasty Comfort Food
Salisbury steak is an old-school comfort food, but you might not realize just how old-school: It was invented during the Civil War by physician James Salisbury, a pioneer of the high-protein, low-carb school of dieting. Dr. Salisbury would probably be mortified to know how well his creation goes with mashed potatoes, especially this easy, rich version made in your slow cooker.
Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, plain or seasoned
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
- 4 teaspoons oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into strips
- 1 pack (4 ounces) sliced white or Cremini mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth, homemade or packaged
- 2 10-ounce cans low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
- 1 package onion soup mix or onion gravy mix (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef with the breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Mix until just combined, and then shape into 6 large or 8 to 10 smaller patties.
- In a heavy skillet, heat half of the oil over a medium-high burner. Brown the patties for 2 minutes per side, working with 2 patties at a time so the skillet won't be crowded. As each patty is done, transfer it to the liner of your Crock-Pot. Repeat until all the patties are browned, and are arranged in a single layer in your slow cooker.
- Return the skillet to your stove, and add the onions, mushrooms and remaining oil. Saute briefly until the mushrooms release their moisture and the onions are translucent, about 2 or 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Stir the all-purpose flour into the onion-and-mushroom mixture, then add the broth. Stir until it begins to boil, about 2 minutes. Stir in the canned soup, and the dry soup mix if you're using it. Pour the sauce mixture over the patties.
- Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours, whichever fits better into your schedule for the day. Serve over mashed potatoes or broad noodles, with your choice of vegetables on the side.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you're really in a hurry, you can use preformed hamburger patties from the supermarket instead of preparing your own. Their texture will be a bit different, because they'll lack the egg and breadcrumb binder, but the finished dish will still be tasty and comforting.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.