What is Salisbury steak and why is it such a popular comfort food?
Despite its name, Salisbury steak isn't from Salisbury... and nor is it actually a steak!
Instead, this delicious dish is a satisfying blend of ground beef, breadcrumbs and a variety of other ingredients formed into oval patties, then fried or baked.
Beloved across the United States, it's the ultimate comfort food and there's something about that home-cooked flavor that brings back fond childhood memories!
So How Did Salisbury Steak Get Its Name?
Back in the nineteenth century an American physician began spreading the idea that a meat-centered diet was good for health and digestion.
His name was Dr James Salisbury - and whilst modern recipes may not quite live up to his original recommendations (muscle pulp cakes, anyone?) his name has been attached to Salisbury steak ever since!
What's In Salisbury Steak?
Homemade Salisbury steak generally contains ground beef, mixed with a 'binder' (usually egg and breadcrumbs), onions and seasonings.
The mixture is then thoroughly combined - you can do it by hand (great fun for the kids!) or use a stand mixer. The idea is to blend the mixture really, really well so that the patties hold together, giving a texture as close to 'steak' as possible once cooked.
Shop-bought, packaged Salisbury steak may contain up to 25% ground pork combined with the ground beef. Because of pork's higher fat content, this can give it a softer, lighter texture.
Is Salisbury Steak the Same as Hamburger Steak?
No, it's not. Although recipes vary, Hamburger steak should really only contain meat and seasonings, but none of the binders or fillers found in Salisbury steak.
How Is Salisbury Steak Cooked?
One of the great things about Salisbury steak is that it's wonderfully quick and easy to make!
It's usually cooked in a frying pan or skillet, which gives it lovely, crispy seared edges and a juicy center.
We recommend staring with the heat up high (to quickly achieve the sear), then turning it down low to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through.
You can also bake Salisbury steak in the oven - it takes around 30 to 35 minutes, and is done when there's no sign of pink in the middle. You can even slow cook it - or cook it in a pressure cooker, along with the gravy and any extra vegetables.
How Is It Served?
Salisbury steak is usually served smothered in tasty brown gravy or sauce, on a bed of mashed potato.
You can get creative with the gravy, adding onions and mushrooms, or other vegetables you enjoy. And you don't HAVE to serve it with mashed potato - try egg noodles instead, or - as a healthy option - mashed cauliflower. Yum!