Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Smothered Steak & Beech Mushrooms
My second dish made with St. Louis boy this past month is quite easy, but what made it so special were the Beech Mushrooms we used. Both of us loving mushrooms, these were some neither of us had seen before. Schnucks is a local food market in the St. Louis area and their offerings of ingredients was quite pleasing compared to what I had remembered. I even bought Lemon Grass for soup I will be sharing in a future post.
We found the beech mushrooms had a nice earthy smell, but a bitter taste when eaten raw. I researched and found after cooking their flavor will liven up in true earthy mushroom manner. They added a great flavor to the gravy while slow cooking (we had bagged up the left over chuck roast gravy, and used it for this recipe).
The Brown Beech mushroom is a highly nutritious mushroom containing significant amounts of potassium, protein, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and Vitamin D2 (please refer to Nutrition Facts in Fresh Mushroom Products section). The Brown Beech is highly valued for its culinary properties. Recent research indicates that this mushroom also has strong medicinal activities.
Unpublished research in Japan found that the addition of Beech mushrooms to the diet of mice with deficient ApoE levels reduced the density of serum cholesterol and the areas of arteriosclerosis around the heart and main artery by 74% when compared to the control group (see section titled "Recent Medical Research on Beneficial Effects of Mushrooms on Health). Matsuzawa (1998) reported that adding Beech mushroom fruitbodies to the diet of tumor-bearing mice resulted in a potent anti-tumor effect. This research suggests that the significant increases in antioxidant activities (AOA) in the plasma may be a mechanism of the cancer preventative effects.
Brown Beech- Hypsizygus tessulatus
White Beech- Bunapi-shimeji
Hypsizygus marmoreus, Buna Shimeji, Hon Shimeji
Cultivated varieties harvested in tight clusters with mushrooms attached to common base, and typically grown on beech trees (hence the name). Caps 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches wide, brownish with mottled "water spots" (Brown). White caps indicate white beech. Stems and gills white to cream in color.
Known Active Constituents:
Ergosterol - Provitamin D2
Immune system enhancement
Medicinal Properties and Modes of Actions:
The Brown Beech mushroom is a highly nutritious mushroom containing significant amounts of potassium, protein, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and Vitamin D2 (please refer to Nutrition Facts in Fresh Mushroom Products section). The Brown Beech is highly valued for its culinary properties. Recent research indicates that this mushroom also has strong medicinal activities. Unpublished research in Japan found that the addition of Beech mushrooms to the diet of mice with deficient ApoE levels reduced the density of serum cholesterol and the areas of arteriosclerosis around the heart and main artery by 74% when compared to the control group (see section titled "Recent Medical Research on Beneficial Effects of Mushrooms on Health). Matsuzawa (1998) reported that adding Beech mushroom fruitbodies to the diet of tumor-bearing mice resulted in a potent anti-tumor effect. This research suggests that the significant increases in antioxidant activities (AOA) in the plasma may be a mechanism of the cancer preventative effects.
The Beech mushroom also has been reported to have beneficial effects on skin conditions. A high-end cosmetic company (Origins) includes Hysizygus mushroom extracts in some of its skin treatment products.
The Shimeji should be cooked, it is not good raw. When raw, mushroom has a somewhat bitter taste; the bitterness disappears completely upon cooking. The cooked mushroom has a pleasant, firm, slightly crunchy texture and a delicious slightly nutty flavor. Cooking makes mushroom easier to digest. It is good with stir-fried foods, wild game or seafood. It is used in soups, stews and sauces. When cooked alone, Shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed as a whole, including the stem or stalk (only the very end cut off), using a higher temperature, or they can be slow roasted on a low temperature with a small amount of butter or cooking oil. Shimeji is used in soups, nabe and takikomi gohan.
Crock Pot Smothered Steak
4-5 tenderized cube steak (if you cannot find this, I have tenderized round steak instead, my son laughed when he did not have a tenderizer hammer the last time, and I used a plastic wrapped soup can!)
1 sliced red onion
3-4 cloves of mashed garlic
salt/pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 eggs, beaten well, and mixed with 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups beef or vegetable stock
Season meat, and then dip them into egg/buttermilk mixture; dredge into flour and place in crock pot. Add onion, mushrooms and stock. Cook for up to three hours, or until tender. Serve with a green vegetable. We used raw clean spinach.
Cube steak is a cut of beef, usually top round or top sirloin, tenderized by fierce pounding with a meat mallet, or use of an electric tenderizer found in most butcher markets. Many professional cooks insist that regular tenderizing mallets cause too much mashing to produce a proper cube steak, and insist on either using specialized cube steak machines, or manually applying a set of sharp pointed rods to pierce the meat in every direction. This is the most common cut of meat used for chicken fried steak.
In some parts of the United States, cube steak may be called a minute steak, because it can be cooked quickly.
Others distinguish minute steak as:
* minute steak is simply a cut, not necessarily tenderized;
* minute steak is thinner than cube steak (hence does not need tenderizing);
* minute steak is cut from sirloin or round, while cube steak cut from chuck or round.
1. ^ "What is a Minute Steak?". Wisegeek.com. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-minute-steak.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
2. ^ Randal W. Oulton. "Cube Steak". Practicallyedible.com. http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/cubesteak. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
St. Louis boy asked me what the difference between Swiss and Smothered steak are. I replied that 'Smothered Swiss Steak' is an oxymoron in my book...
* Swiss steak- The subtle difference between Smothered and Swiss steak is the use of vegetables and tomatoes in most Swiss steak recipes.
The name does not refer to Switzerland, but instead to the process of "swissing", which refers to fabric or other materials being pounded or run through rollers in order to soften it.
Typically called smothered steak in the US, and other countries such as England, this dish begins with a thick cut of beef-usually round or chuck-that has been tenderized by pounding, coated with flour and browned on both sides. The meat is then smothered with chopped tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, beef broth and various seasonings before being covered and braised, baked or simmered for about 2 hours.
[Photo courtesy of Wikipedia- Viennese Schnitzel]
I have learned that the preference of ingredients in either dish over the years separates the two in kitchens, but both came from essentially the same idea. Eventually 'Chicken Fried Steak' resulted from the core idea of dredging cubed steak in flour, and serving with pan gravy, serves as a inexpensive dish for low income families. The roots of this dish originated in the south, in and around the Appalachian mountains when German settlers brought their homeland recipes to the area.
The most obvious dish being the Wiener-schnitzel from Germany, and using pounded pieces of pork. What worked for pork in Germany was quickly adopted for the beef in the Southwest areas of our country.
Information on slow cooking, crock pots, Beech mushrooms, and cubed steak- Thanks! Wikipedia, History of Slow Cooking by C. Jeanne Heida, Alexis AKA Mom, and 'Food Around The World' Culinary Text.
Selected Beech Mushroom References:
Ikekawa, T. et. al., 1992. "Antitumor activity of Hypsizygus marmoreus. I. Antitumor activity of extracts and polysaccharides." Chem. Pharm. Bull. 40(7):1954-1957.
Matsuzawa, T, et. al., 1997. "Studies on antioxidant effect of Hypsizygus marmoreus I. Effects of Hypsizygus marmoreus for antioxidant activities of mice plasma.
Matsuzawa, T, et al., 1998. "Studies on antioxidant effect of Hypsizygus marmoreus. II. Effects of Hypsizgus marmoreus for antioxidant activities of tumor-bearing mice". Agricultural Technology Institute of Nagano, Japan. Yakugaku Zasshi Oct; 1998(10):476-481.
Saitoh, H. et. al. 1997. "Antitumor activity of Hypsizygus marmoreus. II. Effect against lung metastasis on Lewis Lung Carcinoma. Yakugaku Zasshi 117(12)1006-1010.
Tsuchlda, K. et. al. 1995. "Isolation of a novel collagen-binding protein from the mushrooms, Hypsizygus mamoreus, which inbitis Lewis Lung Carcinoma cell adhesion to the Type IV collagen". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 270(4):1481-1484.
I got a really nice message from a blog asking for the slider roll recipe from one of my last posts, and since I did not have my regular yeast roll recipe with me in St. Louis, I simply used one from Sara @ Our Best Bites I had bookmarked. I just added zest and juice from a clementine to the flour before mixing; did a egg wash to brown them, and cooked in his brownie pan. I slathered the Mojo marinade on top (they were cooked a few days before, and simply covered with foil), and re-warmed. The citrus flavor complimented the Mojo buffalo sliders in a way you might not expect, and I will be making these again!