Originally published August 4, 2005
For better, for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. These wedding vows, or something similar, were uttered by nearly all of us who have tied the matrimonial knot. Whether or not we realized it prior to the ceremony, marriage joins together more than two people. It joins together two families. It also marks the melding of two sets of family traditions.
Many of those traditions have to do with food. That’s why meals like Thanksgiving dinner often include a dozen or more side dishes to make sure everyone’s favorites are included. I’ve seen the Thanksgiving table set with three different sweet potato dishes.
When my wife and I got married we each came into the relationship with our own collection of family recipes. Those first few months of cohabitation were spent introducing each other to our respective favorites.
Although our culinary boundaries have expanded far beyond those of our parents adding a whole new set of favorites, several of our families’ dishes have remained on our regular rotation of meals and we’ve now introduced them to the next generation.
One of the recipes my wife brought into our marriage was for something called “Glorified Steak.” This is one of those frugal recipes designed to stretch the family’s food dollars. It dates back at least 40 years and my wife’s mother thinks she got out of a church cookbook she once had in her collection. Here is the recipe.
- 1-1/2 lbs ground chuck
- 1/2 cup of finely crushed saltine crackers
- 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
- 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (reduced salt)
- Black pepper to taste
- Olive Oil
Using your hands mix together the dry onion soup mix, ground pepper, and the ground chuck. Press firmly into the bottom of a slightly oiled 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate for five hours or over night. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Also prepare a sauté pan by heating to medium high heat and adding enough olive oil to sauté. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and cut it into six to eight squares, dust with flour, and brown both sides in the sauté pan. Do two to three squares at a time and add more oil if needed. Return the browned squares to the baking dish, top with mushroom soup, and cook uncovered for one hour.
This dish is called Glorified Steak because the less inexpensive ground chuck takes on a texture and flavor of more expensive cuts of beef. The original recipe does not call for the reduced salt version of the mushroom soup but this dish can get pretty salty because the soup mix also has a significant amount of sodium. So, I recommend using the reduced sodium mushroom soup.
We had this earlier in the week and served it with roasted potatoes and green peas but it goes well with just about any starch and vegetable. The mushroom soup makes great gravy for rice or mashed potatoes.
When we serve the dishes we had when we were kids our dinner conversation inevitably takes us back to those earlier days. I know we’ve told the same old stories over and over but we seem to never tire of them. Somehow sushi just doesn’t elicit the same trip down memory lane.