After trying the Japchae from Russ Crandall's The Ancestral Table, I was excited to give another recipe from the book a try. I decided upon the Salisbury Steak. He does have a version of this recipe on his blog, but it is a little different than the book version that I am reviewing. It had actually been quite a few years, like 30, since I last had Salisbury Steak. It's not a story for the blog, but I'll say my avoidance of the dish started with a T.V. dinner. I was ready to see if Russ could bring this dish back in to my paleo life. I gathered my ingredients, turned my oven on to pre-heat and got to work.
I started by making the ground beef steaks. You simply measure out the needed ingredients and mix it well with your hands. As usual, I put on some latex gloves to do this as it keeps my hands/fingernails cleaner.
Once the mixture was combined, I roughly divided it into four equal servings and formed the steaks. Russ calls for using a baking sheet. As this recipe calls for broiling and my oven has the inconvenient broiling drawer, I had to use the base of my broiling pan as it fits into the rack of the drawer. I'm envious of those of you whose broiler is in the oven and you aren't limited in what pan you can use. I decided to cover my pan with foil to make clean up easier.
My oven wasn't quite ready for the steaks when I finished forming them, but once it reached temp, I put them in and set a timer for 18 minutes, per the recipe instructions. I then started working on the mushroom gravy. I sliced up the mushrooms and defrosted some of my homemade beef broth and added both and the called for spices to a saucepan.
The recipe calls for simmering the mushrooms for 15 minutes before adding cream. I consulted the substitution guide in the book and it simply says to omit it for a "more stringent" paleo interpretation of the dish, so I did. After 15 minutes, I added the arrowroot slurry to the pot, stirred and waited a long while for it to thicken. It really didn't thicken, so I decided it was done. While I was waiting for it to thicken, the steaks were ready to be placed under the broiler briefly.
Here are the steaks right out of the broiler. Don't be alarmed by the ooze as it separates from the steaks easily. No this is not a pretty picture, but I think its better for no one, especially those new to cooking, to be alarmed by the interim steps in making a recipe that aren't necessarily Pinterest ready.
I served the steak with some cauliflower mash.
Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients: You should be able to find everything you need for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store. The only thing you might have trouble finding in your "big box" is almond flower, but I think most have started carrying it as "gluten free" has become more popular. If you have a Costco near you, they now carry Honeyville Farms brand almond flour which I've had a good experience with in my kitchen.
Preparation & Cooking Time: The stated preparation and cooking time in the cookbook is 10 minutes 20 minutes respectively. It took me 7.5 minutes to prep the "steaks" to go into the oven. It took me 35.5 minutes to cook the steaks and make the sauce for a total time of 43 minutes. I believe I can get the total cooking time it closer to 25 minutes total cooking time with better planning. I forgot to defrost my beef broth while making the steaks which added time and then I didn't slice the mushrooms until after the meat was in the oven. My cooking time was probably longer than it could be as I waited a while to see if the mushroom gravy would thicken more than it it did. I'll do better next time.
Clean Up: Everything except my sauté pan went into the dishwasher. My foil lining of the pan successfully kept it clean. Yay!
The Paleo Review: Two Thumbs Way Up! After not having Salisbury steak in my life for so many years, my memory was instantly brought back with my first bite, but far better. It was juicy, light and herby. I'd forgotten the distinct flavor of Salisbury steak. This was simply lovely. I don't feel as though I missed a thing by omitting the cream. The dish was even better the next day. Even if it took me 43 minutes to make again, which I don't think it will, I like this enough to make it a weeknight dinner.
The recipe online is a little different from the one in the book, so you'll just have to buy this beautiful book to enjoy it.