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Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Salisbury steak.  Really?  Yeah, yeah, yeah. The same Salisbury steak we all know and either love or hate.

Unlike the sandwich, created under gambling duress by the Earl of Sandwich, salisbury steak wasn't created by the the Marquess of Salisbury.  Nor was it created in Salisbury, Maryland. It was invented by Dr. J.H. Salisbury (1823-1905), an American physician, and the term "Salisbury steak" has been in use in the United States since 1897. Who knew?

I actually like salisbury steak.  I know it's a bit low brow.  Skanky, even. When my family became nanny-less after my father's military retirement, our freezer was always stocked top to bottom with TV dinners.  They were very hip in the 60's.  Salisbury steak was one of the mainstays in our TV dinner rotation, served alongside glowing  bright yellow macaroni and cheese.  Heaven for kid.  We loved them.

Last night, I had bits and pieces of things tossed around the refrigerator that I needed to use.  Scraps.  They weren't even salisbury steak ingredients.  They were what they were, and I used them to make something really quite interesting. Re-invented salisbury steak.  Sort of.

Using no measurements, I tossed leftover Chinese New Year ground pork into a large bowl with panko bread crumbs, milk, sliced celery leaves, minced garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, an organic egg, and a medley of diced red, green, and yellow bell peppers.  I gently mixed everything together and formed four small wet peppered pork salisbury steak patties.

After dusting them with additional panko bread crumbs, I pan fried them until golden brown before carefully placing them in a small snug-fitting casserole dish.

I made a quick dark brown gravy with beef stock and red wine thickened with a butter/flour roux.When the gravy reached the perfect consistency, I poured it over the ground pork steaks, sprinkled a few sliced onions and peppers over the top, clamped on a lid, and slid the casserole dish into a 350 degree oven to bake for an hour-ish, give or take a few minutes.  It baked while Michael and I enjoyed a bottle of chardonnay while listening to Betty Buckley's Ghost In This House CD.

Eventually, I sauteed green beans in butter with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper.  After boiling egg noodles in heavily salted water until al dente, I tossed the noodles with butter and sliced scallions before nestling the ground peppered-pork steaks into the pasta with a smothering of sauce. Sliced snipped chives finished it off.

It wasn't traditional salisbury steak.  At. All.  It was deeper, richer, and more luscious.  The savory gravy clung to the ridiculously moist patties before dripping through the buttery noodles and onto our plates, streaming  pork fat and red wine infused brown gravy into puddles for sopping...or licking.  Yep.

Our faux salisbury steaks were an unexpected and delightful surprize.

From scraps.

Go figure.

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