So one of the things I love about cooking is that, really, there are no rules. I’m not a rules girl. It’s probably why I ultimately failed in upper management at a giant newspaper chain. It’s also why I’m not a very good baker. Baking is science and it has a lot of rules. Cooking is chaos. It’s a pinch of this and a dab of that. This is also why I love Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Not only does she not have rules, she doesn’t have any pretensions about her cooking.
When I got her first cookbook, I leafed through it eagerly to discover new and exciting recipes. What I found instead was a very level-headed guide to simple things she cooks for her family. Who puts Egg in a Hole in a professionally published cookbook? Or her husband’s favorite sandwich – a steak sammie made with cube steak. And yet, my absolute favorite blackberry cobbler comes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. And it’s not even really a cobbler. It’s more like a cake. But King Daddy absolutely adores it.
So the other night, Noah was watching The Pioneer Woman and she made Salisbury Steak. I actually had to look up what Salisbury Steak was and then I got curious about who invented it. Turns out it was a doctor in the 1800s who was a proponent of a low-carb diet. Some things never change (pass the pasta, please).
This is decidedly low brow. The recipe calls for ingredients like ketchup, a beef bouillon cube and Kitchen Bouquet. I didn’t exactly know what that was, either. Turns out it’s primarily made of caramel with vegetable flavorings. My beloved Publix didn’t carry it and just as well. It would have sat in my cupboard for another 17 years before I found another use for it.
The bottom line is this:
It was unfussy, easy, pedestrian and delicious. Even without the Kitchen Bouquet. I’m going to send you on over to the Food Network now to take a look see at the Salisbury Steak Recipe.
And here’s my recipe for the sour cream mashed potatoes that went with it. Equally simple, unfussy and delicious.
- 1 pound Yukon Gold or red potatoes
- ½ stick butter
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 heaping tablespoons sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring two quarts of water to a boil.
- Cut each potato into quarters. Boil until tender when pierced by a fork.
- Drain and put back into the pot and let the potatoes dry for a minute. Add the butter and milk.
- Mash with a potato masher (this is a simple device but the best one for the job – if you don’t have one, invest in one). Stir in sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.