Saturday, October 1, 2016

Salisbury Steaks

I attended Southview Junior High in Edina from 1964 through 1967. Those years were pretty much unremarkable. At some point my voice changed. Lyndon Baines Johnson, puller of beagle ears, was our president. But there are three things that really stand out for me from that era.

First was our Physical Education classes. They were mandatory and they were hard. Had to learn to wrestle. Had to do a 30-foot rope one thought to put pads over the hardwood floors back then. But what I remember vividly is swim class, taught by the legendary Art Downey.

Our swim classes were noteworthy due to the absence of all clothing. All 30 of us were buck naked for each class. While I didn't really think about it at the time, I can't imagine going swimming in the buff today with 30 of my peers (oh, the horror!). We were just a few years past WWII and the Korean War and I think the military mentality of the period saw it as normal operating procedure. Besides, you couldn't really reliably depend on 30, 13-year old boys to remember to bring swimsuits to school every could you?

The second thing that I recall were the nuclear war drills the school would conduct. People much smarter than me had determined that us kids could survive an atomic bomb explosion by sitting in the school hallway with our legs crossed and our arms over our heads.

The only other thing that really stands out for me during that period are the school lunches. Keep in mind, that during this period of my life, my mother was 100% committed to not becoming a slave to her kitchen. So meals made by the military-industrial complex were actually a huge plus for me. The only meals I disdained were Friday fish sticks during Lent. Other than that, I was living the dream.

While I liked the days we had burgers, my very favorites were the days we had Salisbury Steak. I thanked my lucky stars for growing up in Edina where the school kids were fed steak! I was ever so grateful that my parents had achieved Edina and brought me and my sister with them.

Overcome by all of this nostalgia this week, I combed the Interwebs to find a really good Salisbury Steak recipe. What you see here is actually a Frankenrecipe. I grabbed different parts of recipes and then sewed them all together. So I encourage you to try this recipe out. And to be period-correct, I would suggest that you consume this meal in your birthday suit while listening carefully for air raid sirens. This recipe serves four.


For the Steaks
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon  black pepper
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2  heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Onion Gravy
1 onion, sliced into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Gravy Master
Salt and pepper to taste


For the Steaks
  1. Lightly beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, minced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and stir until well mixed. Crumble the ground beef over the egg mixture and mix until everything is well combined.
  2. Shape the beef mixture into 4 patties of equal size. 
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove the patties to a plate and drain any fat from the pan.
For the Gravy
  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté onions until they are soft and opaque (about 10 minutes),
  2. Remove onions from skillet and set aside. Reduce heat to low. Put butter in skillet.
  3. When butter has melted, blend in flour, stirring until smooth.
  4. Slowly add beef broth and boil gently for 5 minutes.
  5. Add Gravy Master and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour over Salisbury Steaks and serve.

Wine pairing: To be period correct, grab yourself a bottle of Mogen David Wine...made with real Concord grapes!

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