January 31st, 2008

The Haunting of the Salisbury Steak

This is the story of two newlyweds. Like many recently-married ladies, this gal was excited to try new recipes for her husband.

One day, the new wife found a recipe for Salisbury Steak in a magazine. 

“This’ll be great!” she thought.

The next evening after work, she hurried home with all the ingredients for a wonderful, home-cooked meal.

Little did she know she was about to create a “meal” that would go down in family lore as “the grossest thing ever. . . ”

Okay, so the wife was me.

And I hadn’t quite perfected the art of paring down a recipe for six into a meal for two.

The beef looked like a puffer fish because there were way too many eggs and bread crumbs for the amount of meat.

And the onions I used were not “finely chopped.” They were more like something you might see contestants on “Survivor” eating.

But my husband was sweet about it . . . until he saw that I hated it, too. Then all bets were off.

Now, 10 years later, we still talk about that meal. During cold and flu season I’ll ask my husband how he’s feeling when he’s under the weather.  His answer?

“Like I just ate some Salisbury Steak.”

It’s taken on a new meaning in our house. But I prefer to think it brought us closer. Like one of those traumatic events you live through together and nothing seems that important anymore. Like in a hurricane, a tornado, floods, fires . . .

I’ve grown so much as a cook in 10 years. So I think a decade is enough time to break the spell of the Salisbury Steak. I’m ready to get back on that oniony saddle again, so to speak.

This time it’s personal.

So here’s a much better recipe for Salisbury Steak I found on www.cooks.com.

I know how to follow instructions now and I’m thinking I will use this ground beef so I won’t have to do my own onions at all. They’re already in the meat. 

Try it and see if you have great results you can share!


10 3/4 ounces cream of mushroom soup, condensed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, lean
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup water

Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, combine 1/4 of the soup with remaining ingredients except water; mix well. Shape into 6 patties; arrange in single layer in 13 x 9-inch or 12 x8-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 F. for 30 minutes. Skim off fat. In small bowl, combine remaining soup and water; spoon over patties. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes. If desired, garnish with mushroom slices.Serving Size: 6

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