Swiss steak is typically a tough cut of meat that is tenderized then braised in tomato gravy. Making it in a cooking bag is a convenient no-mess way to prepare this classic recipe. Once it's cooked, just move the steak and gravy to a serving dish and throw away the bag with no worries about scrubbing a pan. It is so easy to do that at least one seasoning manufacturer sold the spice mix and recipe prepackaged with the bag.
Prep the Bag
A large-sized cooking bag holds as many as 8 pounds of meat and vegetables, or six servings of most recipes. Before you use the bag, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the bag and shake it well to coat the inside completely. Leave the flour in the bag to thicken your gravy. Always place the cooking bag in an oven-proof pan that is at least 2 inches deep before filling it, and keep the entire bag inside the pan. You can use oven bags to cook up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit -- but no higher.
Brown the Steak
You can place the raw steak directly into the cooking bag with the other ingredients, but you will develop more flavor by browning the steak first. Briefly brown the meat on both sides in a little oil over medium-high heat. Remove the browned steak to a plate and allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
The basic recipe for Swiss steak calls for four to six round or cube steaks; a can of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce; beef broth; and sliced onion. Season the dish with garlic or garlic powder, salt and pepper, and a little paprika. Optional ingredients include sliced bell pepper, carrots and celery. Make it spicy with prepared mustard and Worcestershire sauce, or sweeter with a little brown sugar.
In the Bag
Place the steak pieces in a single layer in the bag. Place the seasoning ingredients on top of the steaks, then add the remaining ingredients. Close the bag loosely with the provided tie. Bake Swiss steak in a 350-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. Let the steak stand for five minutes before opening the bag. Remove the steak, stir the sauce and enjoy.
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