Salisbury Steak with Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Gravy

When I was a child my go to meal, provided by my mother who understood the very specific, persnickety demands of a super-picky child, was Birdseye beefburgers (the ones with onion), mashed potato (instant mash, specific and only acceptable brand – Smash!), peas (Bachelors marrow fat peas – large) and gravy (Bisto instant beef and onion gravy). Any variation of this was met with a swift, totally unreasonable yet absolute rejection.

I never knew it but this turns out to be a very close approximation of the marvelous Salisbury Steak. Apart from the obvious differences including the fact that my childhood meal was a distinctly unhealthy processed food with highly questionable artificial additives, the Salisbury steak is effectively a dressed up hamburger – a meatball in a tuxedo, if you will…

The Salisbury steak was invented in 1888 by a physician, James Henry Salisbury, M.D., who believed that humans should eat more meat and limit vegetable consumption to 1/3 of food intake as he thought they caused tumors, heart disease, tuberculosis and mental illness. Sounds like he wasn’t the best medical practitioner but he sure did invent a tasty meal.

This recipe calls for a side dish of mashed potatoes and a caramelized onion and mushroom gravy – a rich meaty sauce over buttery cheesy mash that makes this a fabulous comfort meal that can only make you warm and happy 🙂

Salisbury steak ingredients

Not too many ingredients and you’ve probably got most, if not all, of them on hand: ground beef, breadcrumbs, an onion, some mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, corn starch, tomato paste, beef stock, onion powder, ground mustard, thyme and garlic powder. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil and we’re ready to go!

Salisbury steak patties

You make the patties first, the actual Salisbury steaks, and it only takes a couple of minutes. Mix the beef, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, ground mustard and salt and pepper. Use your hands and gently work the mixture into a cohesive ball – don’t overwork it or you’ll end up with a tough burger at the end. There! That was seriously easy, wasn’t it?

Frying Salisbury steak

Look at those beautiful patties, not at all like my childhood processed burgers, these are full of meaty goodness and ready to fry in their own moreish juices. I do love American beef!

Salisbury steak browning

Flip the patties after about 3 minutes – these steaks don’t take long to cook. They still look like burgers but trust me they are real Salisbury steaks 🙂 Cook for another 3 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan and set aside. Keep them in a warm place (like the oven at 200F), we’ll need them back soon…

caramelizing onions

On to the sauce! I love gravy. It’s a mini mission of mine to find the perfect gravy recipe when you don’t have meat drippings and this is one of my best attempts. It far surpasses the instant Bisto gravy I so craved as a child… Start by adding the onions to the previously used pan. Turn the heat down a little to start the caramelization process. If you have a spare hour then feel free to fully caramelize these onions (like my recipe here) or you can fully get away with just sweating them down for 15 minutes. They are still perfectly delicious, trust me 🙂

Mushroom and onion gravy

After the onions are a nice, golden brown color and a translucent texture, add the mushrooms. I used plain white mushrooms but if you’re feeling adventurous then some cremini or even portabella mushrooms would be fantastic! If you have to cater for those strange people that don’t like mushrooms then you can either hide them by finely dicing them, or even omit them completely (please don’t 🙁 – that would be a small tragedy).

Onion gravy with mushrooms

Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. This is the stage when you know that your gravy is going to be great! You can smell the sauce coming together and it feels good…

Caramelized onion and mushroom gravy for Salisbury steak

Add the Worcestershire sauce, butter and parsley – it’s time to bring the big guns out now. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Salisbury steaks in gravy

Add the steaks back to the pan and baste them with the gravy so they’re totally covered and let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes to completion.

Simmering Salisbury steaks

Looking good. Ready to serve with perfect mashed potatoes.

Finished Salisbury steak

There you have it. Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and a caramelized onion and mushroom gravy. I swear it’s fantastic. Please try it out and let me know how it goes, any improvements and do continue to send me your pics whenever you try out my recipes. Thanks!

Print Recipe
Salisbury Steak with Caramelized onion and Mushroom Gravy
In effect, a dressed up hamburger with a beautifully sumptuous onion and mushroom sauce. This recipe is one of the ultimate comfort foods that kids and adults alike adore.
Perfect Salisbury Steak
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Salisbury Steak
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Gravy
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Salisbury Steak
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Gravy
Perfect Salisbury Steak
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder and salt and pepper. The aim is to combine all the ingredients but not to overwork it or you'll end up with a tough patty.
  2. Split the beef mixture into four elongated patties around 1/2 inch thick. Try to make them equal size so they will cook evenly.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet medium high in a skillet. Add the patties and fry for 3 minutes - don't move them around, just let them brown. Flip the patties and cook for a further 3 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Turn the heat down on the skillet to low-medium and add the onions to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, onion powder and thyme and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and add the Worcestershire sauce and butter. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes to let the gravy thicken.
  5. Return the steak patties to the pan and spoon over the sauce. Cook for around 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with green onions, fresh parsley or chives.

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