A little history behind the Swiss in Swiss Steak.
You might think that your Mom’s Swiss steak recipe originated from Switzerland because of its name, but with a little research you’ll find the name has nothing to do with the sovereign state. Instead, the popular dish earned its name from the technique of pounding or rolling to make flat called “swissing”.
The dish generally uses tougher cuts of meat that do not include a lot of fat and are extremely lean like a bottom round, top round or chuck roast, but don’t let that stop you from ‘swissing’ quality cuts if you have them on hand. The meat is then sliced into small steaks and tenderized breaking down the tough connective tissue.
Variations of how this flattened steak is prepared include everything from breaded to non-breaded, fried to non-fried, and then simmered in either a tomato based gravy or a broth based gravy.
If you want my opinion, I vote for the breading along with the broth based gravy.
My Swiss Elk steak recipe uses a lean cut from the hindquarter which is then cut into ½ inch steaks, tenderized, covered in seasoned breadcrumbs and quickly fried until golden brown. Then I prepare a broth based gravy that includes onions, mushrooms and hints of fresh thyme. Soon after the gravy begins to thicken, I set the steaks back in the gravy and simmer over low heat until each individual steak is fork tender.
Elk Swiss Steak and Gravy
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 65 minutes
- 1 ½ pounds elk bottom round, cut into 8 steaks, about ½ in thick
- ¾ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Slice the bottom round into 8 steaks that are roughly 1/2 inch thick. Using a meat mallet, pound both sides of the steaks. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Combine the seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on a plate or in a bowl. Take each steak and firmly press into the breadcrumbs coating both sides. Shake off any excess.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, carefully set four of the breaded steaks in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Repeat the same process with the remaining steaks. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Drain the oil from the skillet and re-heat over medium heat. Add the butter, onions and garlic cooking until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the onions and mushrooms with the flour stirring to coat. Add the beef broth and continue to stir until the gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and reduce the heat to low.
- Place the elk steaks back into the skillet, cover partially and continue to cook in the gravy over low heat for 45 minutes or until the meat is fork tender.
- Serve the elk swiss steaks and with a side of fried or mashed potatoes.