It’ll take you back to Grandma’s.

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
April 29, 2021
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Understandably, Southerners have all sorts of different opinions on what “comfort food” really is. Some grew up eating their grandmother’s gumbo with a fat slice of cornbread, while others remember helping their aunt dredge the drumsticks for homemade buttermilk fried chicken. For me, it was my mom’s insanely delicious chicken and dumplings, which she always served with her sour cream biscuits, so we could sop up all the good stuff. One common thread that I’d bet would bring most of us together? We’d give anything to go back and smell the kitchen when these foods were being cooked with love on the stovetop. Well, you’re in luck, thanks to The Pioneer Woman. 

Salisbury Steak is one of those nostalgic weeknight comfort foods that many Southern mothers would throw on the table with extra gravy on the side to bathe your mashed potatoes in, and Ree Drummond’s recipe is said to be one of the best Salisbury Steak recipes out there for when you want tender, skillet-crisped beef patties smothered in warm, savory brown gravy. Can you smell it already? 

My mother tipped me off on the recipe, and she reported that my dad wanted to slurp up every last drop of gravy on his plate. After I tried it for myself, I understood the sentiment. Every bite on my plate received a dunk into extra gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans included. It was that good. The recipe itself isn’t super complicated, but it’s got major flavor, which is exactly what you want out of a traditional dish like this family-favorite one. And when you’re cooking it up, the kitchen starts to smell like heaven. Bingo. 

My favorite aspect of this particular recipe is that it uses thinly sliced onions, rather than the rubbery, chunky canned or sliced mushrooms that other recipes often call for. Secondly, the gravy isn’t greasy and lumpy, but rich in color and perfectly savory. The patties are made from a mixture of ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and bouillon; while the gravy is made with caramelized onions, beef stock, ketchup, and more Worcestershire (got to love the stuff), as well as a little cornstarch for thickening. All in all, it’s pretty quick and simple, which gets bonus points from an impatient cook like myself. I paired it with fluffy mashed potatoes and garlicky skillet green beans, and it brought me back to my grandma’s house immediately. My wrangled taste-testers agreed, and the skillet was scraped clean of gravy before dinner was over. Find the recipe here.

No matter what your ultimate comfort food is, this 30-minute Salisbury Steak recipe is bound to bring up at least a pinch of nostalgia—delicious kitchen aromas and all. Thanks, Ree. Now, how about a retro Jello salad next?