Aunt Ida's Hamburger Steak with Onion Pepper Gravy

Mashed potatoes covered with Hamburger 'Steak' and Gravy

Poor Man's Steak Rich in Flavor.

A steak with many names, this mishmash of hamburger beef isn't a steak at all. The closest cousin to Hamburger Steak, which is made with all beef (at least by U.S. standards) is Salisbury Steak which can contain more fillers than you think. What's the difference? Well, you see, I think Salisbury today means differently than it did when introduced to us in the late 1890's. Dr. J. H. Salisbury (1823–1905), an early proponent of a low-carbohydrate diet, invented this protein dish to aid in weight loss. He formed minced beef, seasonings and bits of vegetables into patties resembling 'steaks' and after cooking, served with a brown gravy. Today, Salisbury Steaks require a minimum content of 65% meat, of which up to 25% can be pork, and bread crumbs, flour, oat flakes, etc. content adds up to an additional 12% with the remaining ingredients consisting of seasonings, vegetables and binders.
Hamburger Steak means beef with flavorings added such as seasonings, vegetables and in Aunt Ida's case, a little bacon for southernism. I am glad Aunt Ida stuck to pure hamburger meat without all the unnecessary fillers, extenders and without binders like eggs, breadcrumbs and unneeded liquids.
Now her 'steaks' are more like hamburger roasts as each one is extra thick, similar to a mini meatloaf with a hamburger/steak taste. And the deal maker to me is the rich gravy loaded with caramelized onions combining with tasty seasonings to give a wonderful,
flavorful sauce. I served this over Mamma's Mashed Potatoes and we practically licked our plates.  Enjoy!

Hamburger Steaks with Onion Pepper Gravy

makes 6 hefty 'steaks', or 8 nice-size patties

for the hamburger steaks:
1 pound ground chuck 80/20 beef
2 pound grounds extra lean 93/7 beef
1 -1 oz package onion soup mix
1/3 cup finely diced well-cooked bacon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder

for the gravy:
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 -15 oz can Campbell's condensed beef broth
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon onion and herb seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt or as needed
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the hamburger steaks together well using a large spoon or spatula in distributing the seasonings evenly. Divide mixture into 6 portions. Form each into a 4-inch patty keeping somewhat of an even, straight edge along the sides.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the patties (3 at a time if needed) until seared on both sides. Place patties on a baking pan and place in oven. Slowly cook 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, discard the grease from the skillet. Melt the butter and add onions. Allow onions to caramelize on the bottom before stirring. When onions are mostly brown, stir in garlic and flour. Cook for a couple of minutes or until flour begins to brown. Add beef broth and the seasonings. Bring to a simmer scrapping the bottom to release the sucs into a fond (brown brun) or the flavored brown bits into a concentrated sauce. Add water if needed.

Remove hamburger steaks from oven. Fold the bell pepper into the gravy.

If wanting to hold this for a short time before serving, slide the meat into the pan spooning the gravy over the steaks. Otherwise, plate meat with gravy on top or arrange steaks on platter placing a spoonful of gravy on top of each and serve remaining gravy on the side.


  1. I'd certainly like to pull up a chair to your table and enjoy a plate full of that hamburger steak. It's the hamburger that lured me in, but the bacon and other flavors would have me asking for seconds and maybe thirds!


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