Casserole steak, also known as Swiss steak, is a type of braised beef. It is a cut of meat that comes from the round, chuck, or rump portions of a cow. These are typically tougher cuts that require slow cooking through braising or stewing to become tender and flavorful. The exact cut of meat used can vary.
Top round steak is one of the most common cuts used for casserole steak. Top round comes from the back leg of the cow. It is a lean, affordable cut that can be tough if not braised. When slow cooked in a casserole or stew, top round becomes very tender and takes on the delicious flavors of the braising liquid.
The bottom round sits below the top round on the back leg of the cow. It is another lean, budget-friendly choice for casserole steak. Bottom round has a lot of connective tissue that must be broken down through wet cooking methods like braising. It can be a tougher cut than top round, but becomes fork tender and juicy with long, slow cooking.
Chuck steak comes from the shoulder region of the cow. It contains a good amount of connective tissue and fat, which makes it ideal for braises and stews. The fat keeps the meat moist and tender during the long cooking time. Chuck steak is also an affordable cut that delivers great flavor and tenderness when properly braised for casserole steak.
The rump region is found near the back thighs of the cow. A rump roast can be cut into steaks to make casserole steak. It is a flavorful cut that becomes meltingly tender when braised due to its marbling and connective tissues. Rump steak has a slightly richer flavor compared to round or chuck steak.
Cuts to Avoid
When making casserole steak, it’s best to avoid expensive, naturally tender cuts like ribeye, tenderloin, strip steak, or sirloin. These cuts would be overkill for casserole steak and end up dry and overcooked. Their tenderness doesn’t require long, moist cooking methods. Leaner round, chuck, and rump cuts are the way to go for great casserole steak.
How is Casserole Steak Cooked?
The method of cooking casserole steak is what makes it tender and delicious. The keys are braising and slow cooking:
- Brown the meat:Season the steak and quickly brown it in a skillet on both sides to build flavor.
- Braise in flavorful liquid: Add the steak to a Dutch oven or casserole dish along with braising liquid like broth, wine, tomatoes, etc.
- Slow cook:Braise at low heat (300-325F), covered, for 2-3 hours until very tender.
- Finish sauce: Once tender, remove steak and keep warm. Simmer the braising liquid to thicken and finish the sauce.
This long, slow cooking breaks down the meat’s connective tissues into luscious gelatin that makes it incredibly tender. The meat soaks up the flavors of the braising liquid to give it deep, savory flavor.
Typical Casserole Steak Recipes
Here are some classic ways that casserole steak is cooked in tasty braised dishes:
Swiss steak features round, chuck, or rump steak braised in a sauce made with tomatoes, onions, broth, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and spices. The meat becomes fall-apart tender and takes on a wonderful savory flavor.
Chuck roast is the classic choice for pot roasts, but rump or round can also be used. The meat is braised along with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions in a red wine or broth based sauce for ultimate comfort food.
For a French take, lean cuts like top round or chuck steak can be seared then braised in red wine, broth, and aromatic vegetables like mushrooms, pearl onions, bacon, and carrots.
Lean round steak is perfect for this Russian dish of meat braised in a sour cream and mushroom sauce. The long cooking ensures tender meat.
|Top Round||Swiss Steak, Beef Stroganoff, Pot Roast|
|Bottom Round||Swiss Steak, Pot Roast|
|Chuck Steak||Swiss Steak, Pot Roast, Beef Bourguignon|
|Rump Roast||Swiss Steak, Pot Roast|
Casserole steak refers to tougher, more affordable cuts of beef from the round, chuck, or rump that are braised to become meltingly tender. Top round, bottom round, chuck steak, or rump roast are excellent choices. These cuts require long, slow, moist cooking methods like braising to break down their connective tissues. When simmered in flavorful braising liquid, they transform into fork-tender, delicious casserole steak.