The cold seasons make me want to eat. Well, I always want to eat, but I’m especially inspired to cook when it’s cool outside. I’m most peaceful when the oven is warming the kitchen and baking something that smells spectacular.
The 1977 edition of Better Homes and Gardens: All-Time Favorite Casserole recipes is my go-to cook book. I’m the Casserole Queen! When I was a young housewife a casserole was the thriftiest and most wholesome way to feed my family. Chances are, if you’ve eaten at my house, I’ve served you Round Steak Louisiana to the point where I’ve heard Are we having that again? Don’t worry, it’s a really great recipe the first three or four times. There is a pic at the bottom of this post, but the green peppers look like slugs.
The secret to cutting the round steak with a fork is to beat the “moo” out of it. Start heating a heavy skillet with oil on the stove. Cut the steak into serving portions, keep it on the cutting board, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper and then whack it – many, many times. You have to break all the tough fibers to tenderize it. I use the back of a meat cleaver. My neighbors must think I’m renovating. Then, sear the portions in the hot oil, but you don’t have to cook the meat through, that will happen as it bakes with the yummy sauce in the oven.
4 med sweet potatoes (or yams) peeled and cut ¾ inch thick
1 lrg onion, sliced
1 med pepper (green, red, yellow – your choice), cut in wedges
1.5 pounds beef round steak (or any cheap cut)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C flour
16 oz can tomatoes, cut up
½ C beef broth
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
Several dashes of your favorite hot pepper or chili sauce
In a 2 quart casserole with a lid layer sweet potato slices, onion slices, and pepper wedges. Cut meat into serving size portions, pound (burn off some energy) to about half the original thickness. And when you think you’ve done it, start beating again! Sprinkle with flour, pepper and salt and quickly brown in skillet. Transfer meat to casserole dish atop veges. Reserve drippings in skillet.
Cook garlic in drippings till tender but not brown. Blend in 3 tbsp of the flour. I hate this part because the flour lumps so I use a shaker with flour and water inside. It makes a paste of the flour and never lumps in the pan. Add undrained tomatoes, beef broth, sugar, ½ tsp salt, thyme, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Cook until thickened and bubbly (it’s going to smell wonderful!); pour over meat and veges.
Bake, covered at 350 about 1.5 hours or 325 for 2 hours. Occasionally spoon sauce over meat and veges. Serves 6. I serve it with a pot of buttery smashed potatoes. Excuse me, I’m drooling.