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Swiss Steak with Hashed Potatoes and Parsnips

Source: Beef for All Seasons
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Active Time:  45 Minutes
Total Time:  2 Hours 45 Minutes
  Serves 4
Swiss or "smothered" steak is a classic Midwestern American preparation that's a kissin' cousin to the Southern chicken-fried steak. "Swissing" refers to the process of pounding the steaks to make them more tender after they have been dredged in flour; the steaks are then braised in a hearty broth of stock and vegetables (or gravy, depending on family tradition). Although today's steaks are more tender than in the good old days when this dish originated, we still recommend a light pounding. The side dish of potatoes and parsnips is creamy, yet retains just enough chunky texture.
For Steaks:
4 top round steaks, choice grade, about 8 ounces each and 3/4 inch thick
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or more, as needed)
2 slices bacon
3 onions, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil, if necessary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup beer
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
For Vegetables:
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 parsnips, peeled and quartered
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup light cream (as needed)
FOR STEAKS: Pat the steaks dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the steaks in flour and pound them with the flat side of a meat cleaver or a rolling pin for about 30 seconds, to ensure that the flour adheres. Dredge the steaks once more in the flour and shake off any excess. Set aside.

Cook the bacon slices in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish over medium heat until all fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Remove the bacon, chop, and reserve.

Add the steaks to the bacon drippings in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, turning once to brown on both sides. Remove the steaks and set aside. Turn down the heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cover, and cook the vegetables for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. (If necessary, add a little olive oil to prevent the vegetables from sticking.) Remove the lid, add the tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove half of the vegetables and reserve.

Place the steaks on top of the vegetables remaining in the pan and add any juices that have been released from the meat. Sprinkle the bacon over the meat, and top with the reserved vegetables. Pour in the beer and beef stock and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Turn down the heat, cover, and braise for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until the steaks are tender enough to be pulled apart with a fork.

FOR VEGETABLES: About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the hashed potatoes and parsnips. Put the potatoes and parsnips in a large saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the vegetables and return them to the saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat and let the vegetables dry for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking constantly. Turn the heat down to low, add the butter and 1/2 cup of cream, and break up the vegetables with a fork or potato masher until just slightly chunky. Add more cream if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.

TO SERVE: Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the Swiss steaks. Skim any fat from the surface and adjust the seasonings. Place the steaks on warm serving plates. Stir the lemon zest into the vegetables and spoon a large helping of vegetables over the steaks. Serve the hashed potatoes and parsnips on the side.

WINE RECOMMENDATION: Petite Syrah from California or a French Cotes du Rhone to provide the dryness of character to complement the spicy flavors of this recipe.

HELPFUL TIPS: Adding lemon zest at the end of the recipe adds a bit of freshness, and helps to balance the richness of the broth. You can use chuck steak or bottom round for this recipe if you wish. If you prefer your potatoes (and parsnips) "mashed," simply whip them in a mixer, with an electric whisk, or pass them through a potato ricer before adding the butter and cream.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 4
Calories: 747
Fat. Total: 21g
Fiber: 12g
Carbohydrates, Total: 76g
Sodium: 668mg
% Cal. from Fat: 25%
Cholesterol: 155mg
Protein: 62g
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