(slow-cooker method; four-quart cooker or larger)
I have used several different cuts for this: something called “petite sirloin” from my local Albertson’s; bottom or top round, cut into thick steaks; and most recently a chuck roast, which was a bit too fatty. Look for leaner cuts. The thickness will of course determine the length of cooking. If you’re adding veggies like baby carrots or small Yukon gold potatoes (quartered or halved), put them in the slow cooker about two hours before the meat is done.
1.5 lbs cheap steak
¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup Campbell’s beef consommé or beef broth
14.5 ounces fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes (see notes)
1 small onion, diced (see notes)
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
Generous squirt of tomato ketchup (about ¼ cup or to taste; see notes)
- Mix flour with salt and pepper on a large plate
- Dredge steak in mixture on both sides
- Heat oil until hot but not smoking; brown the steaks on both sides; no need to cook through. Add to slow cooker.
- Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary. Cook onions until translucent, and add garlic, sautéing a minute or two; add to cooker.
- De-glaze the pan with a little beef consommé or broth, scraping up brown bits. Add to the slow cooker, along with tomatoes and ketchup.
- Add the lid to the cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours; or high 3-4 hours. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.
Tomatoes: I recently (and inadvertently) used a can of “salsa style” fire-roasted tomatoes, which gave the sauce a spicy twist, perhaps too piquant for most. But give it a try if you like a Tex-Mex spin on Swiss.
Onions: My dear friend Roland Marandino, author of the excellent blog Cooking from Books, used to wear swim goggles while chopping onions (I don’t know if he continues to do so). I find that popping the onion in the freezer for about 20 minutes before chopping forestalls the tears.
Ketchup: This is a not totally necessary and appears in no other recipes I’ve consulted, but I like the touch of sweetness. I’ve added ketchup to all manner of stews, including (quelle horreur!) boeuf bourguignon, as you can discover in my reminiscence about a catering business I ran with a friend in college.