Swiss Steak

Look! I made you dinner.

Last night I went to Pinterest in search of a brilliant why-didn’t-I-think-of-that solution to folding fitted sheets. There was none, and I realized that I didn’t really want to know how to tuck the one corner up into the other one and awkwardly fold the edges down until it resembled a foldable rectangle…
I wanted someone to tell me it was OK to wad them up and toss them in the corner.

I have avoided fitted sheet folding by washing and replacing them rather than putting one set away… my Mom, who actually irons her sheets, would be horrified. (But oh, it is really nice.) I decided the laundry piles had grown too high, and there had been far too many frozen pizzas in our recent past. Too much eating out, and nibbling on carrots and cheese, and waffles (homemade, but still) for dinner, and not enough proper meals. And so I did some laundry, and folded the fitted sheets nice and proper, and picked up the ingredients to make Swiss steak – Mike’s favourite childhood dinner, which I’ve made maybe once since we started going around in 1988.

(The closest thing to Swiss steak at my house, my Dad’s beef stew was my least favourite dinner. Flank steak simmered in stewed tomatoes to the consistency of wet rope.)

Mike was duly impressed when he walked in the door at 5 o’clock, turned on the news, and got a plate of Swiss steak for dinner. I nagged W to finish his, and B had soccer practice, and now I’m folding more laundry (rather than tossing it onto the laundry chair – that’s why people have furniture in their bedrooms, right?) and overseeing homework. I may actually be a grown-up after all.

Swiss steak is made using tougher cuts of meat, like eye of round or bottom round – I always think of steak as something grillable, but if it’s a slab of a cut that you’d otherwise simmer pot-roast-style, I’d consider it a simmering steak. I cut 4 eye of round steaks into thick strips and doused them in salt and peppered flour, ignoring instructions to pound them thin. (I had 6 minutes to do this before picking the boys up from school.) I browned them quickly, then set them aside and started to brown the onions, garlic and celery. They were just starting to wilt when I ran out of time, dumped the meat back into the pot, added a shake of steak spice I picked up to rim Caesar glasses this Stampede, added tomatoes and stock, covered it and slid it into the oven for 2 hours. It would have been a perfect fall meal had it not been 27 degrees outside.

I generally don’t flour meat before browning it – the problem being you then brown the flour, not the meat – but it does add body to the resulting sauce.

Swiss steaks must be served over smashed potatoes or buttered noodles, to catch the drips. Some days, it’s all about the drips.

swiss steak 1
swiss steak 1

Swiss Steak

Recipe link


September 24, 2012

  • Makes: Serves 6-8.


2 lb eye of round or bottom round or flank steaks

1/3 cup flour

salt and pepper

canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 onion, thinly sliced

2-4 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed

2 celery stalks, chopped (leaves too)

1 14 oz (398 mL) can whole or diced tomatoes

1 cup beef stock or red wine

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

a good shake of steak spice (or pinch of oregano)


1Preheat the oven to 325F.

2Cut the steaks across the grain into thick strips - about 1 1/2 inches wide. Put the flour into a shallow bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy pot on the stovetop with a generous drizzle of oil and brown the meat in batches on all sides, then transfer it to a plate.

3Add the onions, garlic and celery to the pot and cook for a few minutes, until starting to turn golden. Return the steak to the pot, add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire and steak spice (or whatever herbs and spices you like), cover and slide into the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

4Serve over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.

Makes: Serves 6-8.

About Julie

23 comments on “Swiss Steak

  1. Sue/the view from great island
    September 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    My mom used to make Swiss steak and it was one of my favorite meals! Just today I cooked a beef brisket, which I think is a similar cut of meat, and it turned out great. I guess what goes around comes around…love your recipe, it reminds me of mom’s 😉

  2. Janet
    September 25, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Looks delicious, I will be trying it soon. I share your pain on folding sheets. If you fold them randomly and then put them inside one of the pillowcases to store in a closet, they stack neatly and no one will know if you did a messy folding job or not. Spend your time cooking I say!

  3. Julia M.
    September 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I would totally do this in the slow cooker.

  4. Anita
    September 25, 2012 at 8:26 am

    It’s okay to wad those sheets up and throw them in the corner.
    You’re welcome.

  5. Jennifer M
    September 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    This is reminiscent of my childhood, too. My dad would make it in the electric skillet!

  6. Manon from Ontario
    September 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

    My Mom used to fold those damn sheets standing up and they would be perfectly folded in a rectangular…I think she had magic hands!

    What is the difference between this and beef cubes?

    Just curious?


  7. Manon from Ontario
    September 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Oh and yep, I have that chair in my bedroom too! LOL


  8. Gemma
    September 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    This looks just wonderful! It is on my list of meals to make very soon.

  9. ROSE
    September 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I made your hashbrown waffles last night and they were really good and very easy! Only wish I had a bigger waffle iron.
    Thanks for all your great ideas and musings….


  10. the other Al
    September 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    OMG! My mom used to make this all the time and I too had visions of wet rope(well put.) Swiss Steak is right up there on my ick list with pork chops cooked in mushroom soup. Somehow though, yours looks better. I don’t get it. Probably the thought of someone cooking ME dinner is so pleasing I don’t care what it is. That and the fact that if YOU made it, it would taste delish. I’ll give it a try at my house and see how it goes over.

  11. jenna
    September 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    You always manage to make me laugh……Thank you!

  12. colesangel
    September 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    There’s a book by Lisa Quinn called “Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets”. Official permission.

  13. love to cook
    September 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Life is too short to fold a fitted sheet. Or iron it. Put it straight off the clothesline onto the bed where it finishes drying while you fumble getting the cover back on the duvet. Smells yummy too. As does swiss steak, stew and the like this time of the year. Dust off the pressure cooker; it’s more efficient than a slow cooker, unless of course you want to cook a ham inside a turkey ??

  14. Susan Giesen
    September 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Hey Julie,
    The folding of the fitted sheet, what a waste of time. Play with the kids, go for a walk, cook a fabulous meal – DO NOT WASTE TIME ON THE FITTED SHEET! I only own one set of sheets per bed (bad when you have vomitting kids, but otherwise good), but if I do have to fold one, I make a square (all the funny bits in one corner) and squish them flat, hiding it inside as I fold up the rest. Julie, you’re the best, so happy to see your posts.

  15. Deb Loyd
    September 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    The pictures you post of the food you make are absolutely divine! While I can’t really relate to your laundry issue, I can say that I would love to be served a meal such as that steak. I have bookmarked your site to come back once I have gone to the grocery store because now I really need to taste that recipe!
    thanks for sharing with us!

  16. Laura
    September 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I was always certain that Swiss steak was institutional scariness. I stand corrected. AND I have some thoughts on what to do with all the round steak I have now. Thanks!!

    Also–I wad the bottom sheet into a ball and put it away like that. IT IS TOTALLY OK TO DO SO.

  17. Erica B.
    September 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I’m pretty sure Martha has a video on how to fold fitted sheets. *eyeroll* My favourite apron says: “Martha doesn’t live here” Life is too short. Oh, and anyone who would look askance at your fitted sheets being a little rumpled when they’re put on the guest bed ought to be tossed out on their hoity toity behind. :)

  18. kickpleat
    September 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve never had swiss steak before but it looks totally comforting and delicious. Would love to eat this right now. As for fitted sheets? Why bother.

  19. Anonymous
    September 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

    This was awesome! I made it Thursday and we have leftovers still. Problem is, the round steaks used to make it with are now listed on the recall list. I am supposed to dispose of all beef products on the list, including those that have become part of a prepared dish. What would you do???

  20. Cathy
    September 29, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Best comfort food ever!! I always add green and/or red pepper and a bay leaf or two…yum!!! I think I have to make this tonight!

  21. Ed
    October 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    It’s definitely about the drippings. Flavor is king! (Or queen, depending…)

  22. Rachel
    November 24, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I’ve made this several times. Exactly as you wrote it, which I never do. It’s perfect with the steak spice!!

    OK I lied sometimes I use half wine and half beef stock!

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