My mom cooked Seven Steaks in Brown Gravy quite often when we were growing up. But no one in my family, including her, prepares them anymore. The dish would have been all but forgotten had I not undertaken a family cookbook project several months back (more on that in future posts). Through the process of collecting recipes for the book, I’ve reacquainted myself with this and a bunch of other almost forgotten family favorites. I called mom to share my excitement and we got to talking about how much we enjoyed seven steaks and how sad it was that this and several of my other discoveries were vanishing from our kitchens. So you could only imagine my delight when, during the Thanksgiving holidays, she surprised me with a generous package of seven steaks that she had cut-to-order at Saia’s, an old family run grocery store/meat market in Mandeville (New Orleans’ northshore). I just got around to preparing them. And I’ve gotta tell you, the steaks were just as tender and delicious as I recall them being in 1970-something.
Seven steaks are economical and homey slices of beef cut from the 7-bone chuck roast. They get their name from the bone that runs through them, which is shaped like the number seven. Chances are you won’t find them in the “grab-and-go” section of the meat department–but don’t let that discourage you. Find the butcher (yes, every store has one even if you’ve never laid eyes on yours) and ask him or her to slice a handful of steaks about one-half to three-fourths inches thick. These steaks are pretty tough so they require low and slow cooking. But after a couple of hours of simmering, they’ll melt in your mouth. Serve the steaks with a hearty starch, like Baked Mashed Potatoes, to help mop up every last drop of the rich, oniony gravy that accompanies them.
No danger of this dish disappearing, because starting today I’m bringing Seven Steaks in Brown Gravy back to the table. I hope you’ll join me.
Seven Steaks in Brown Gravy Recipe
4 seven steaks (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, divided
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups warm water, divided
1 tablespoon beef base
3 tablespoons Wondra Gravy Flour
1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season steaks with 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning. Add steaks to hot oil; cook until browned on both sides. Transfer steaks to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic to pan; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, fill a glass measuring cup with 1 1/2 cups warm water; whisk beef base into water. Add beef base mixture to vegetables; stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes. Fill same glass measuring cup with 1/2 cup warm water; whisk gravy flour into water. Add flour mixture, Lea & Perrins, parsley flakes and reserved 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning to saucepan. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Bring gravy to a boil, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits left behind from browning the steaks. Lower heat to simmer and return steaks to pan. Cover and continue cooking until steaks are tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 servings.