Friday, January 20, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Cube Steaks

Cube steak is not the prettiest meat at the market, but it's very versatile and not expensive.

It's not pretty because of the way it's tenderized - it looks sort of lumpy and ragged and might have a few holes in it. But after you cook it, you don't really notice - and that tenderizing turns a tough piece of meat into something you can cut with a fork.

This is the cut of meat that's used for making chicken fried steak, but you're not stuck with adding all that breading, and you don't need to fry it in copious amounts of oil.

Just for the fun of it, I prepared it two different ways.

The first version uses Gilberto's marinara. I've tried several of their products, and so far I've liked all of them. They're a local company and I know some of the farmers that sell produce to the company, so it's not like buying from a big, nameless conglomerate. You can use your own marinara, if you prefer, or use a prepared one that you like.

The second version is incredibly simple. It's the perfect meal when you've got no time for anything more complicated. It cooks in no time at all, so you can spend a little time with side dishes.

Smothered Cube Steak

4 cube steaks
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut in medium chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut in medium chunks
1 medium onion, cut in a large dice
1 jar Gilberto's Old Country Marinara
Oil, for cooking.
Noodles (cooked), for serving

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. If the pan isn't big enough to cook all four pieces at once, you can cook the meat in two batches. Cook the meat until it is nicely browned on one side, flip t over and cook on the second side.

Remove the meant from the skillet and set aside. Add the celery, bell peppers, and onion, and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Add the marinara, and cook until it simmers. Taste for seasoning and and salt, pepper or herbs, as desired.

Add the meat back to the pan and cook just long enough to heat the meat through.

Serve with noodles.

Fast and Easy Cube Steaks

4 cube steaks
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Oil, for cooking

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and add a few grinds of pepper. Dust with flour to coat the steaks - this isn't meant to be a breading, but just a thin coating.

Fry the steaks on the first side until nicely browned. Flip them over and cook on the second side until browned. Serve hot.

I served these with mashed potatoes and edemame, but you can dress yours up with any sides you like.

For more information about Whole Foods Friday, see the tab at the top.