While growing up my family didn't have a lot of money, so we ate lots of whatever Mama found on sale or cheap or we could grow ourselves. We ate lots of hamburger and cheap cuts of meat, including chuck steaks and roasts. Luckily, for all of it's toughness, chuck has a really good beefy flavor. In fact, along with brisket, it is one of the tastier pieces of a cow. But it does require proper cooking, usually a long, slow, moist braise...pot roast, smothered steak, stew or one of my especial favorites, Swiss steak. What's not to love...tender meat, flavorful gravy, lots of tomatoes, onions and peppers. The measurements given below tend to be approximate only, and feel free to vary as your taste or cupboard demand. This will make enough to feed about 4 people.
2 pounds of chuck steak, cut into serving size pieces or, if you prefer bite sized pieces, trimmed of as much fat as possible
about 3/4 cup flour
seasoning to taste (I use garlic powder, celery salt, Mrs. Dash and paprika)
3 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 large green pepper, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the seasonings with the flour and dredge the pieces of meat. Place in the bottom of a deep roaster and place in the oven for about an hour, or until the top pieces have begun to brown a bit. Stir the meat, then scatter the onion and pepper on top, finally pour the tomatoes and water over the vegetables and return to the oven. Continue baking another hour and a half to two hours, until the meat is tender and almost falling apart, stirring every 30 minutes or so. The gravy should be thick and lightly brown. If it looks like the meat is getting too dry, add water as needed. It should never cook dry. Eat with mashed potatoes or roasted potato wedges. It is also good served with rice or noodles. Enjoy!
For smothered steak, add sliced mushrooms when adding the vegetables, omit the tomatoes and use 4 cups chicken broth instead of water. Wine or beer is nice for the liquid too.