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Ruth Ellen Church's Salisbury Steaks With Red Sauce And Mushrooms Recipe

Plated salisbury steak
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3.17 from 18 votes
Here's how to make a proper Salisbury steak.

Serve with: a cabernet or merlot.

Main Course


Servings: 4 1/4 pound steaks


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 shallot or small onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1/4 cup cream or half and half
  • 2 teaspoons Morton coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or other oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown seasoning sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 slices Italian bread
About the meat. Normally for burgers you want a fattier grind, like chuck, but there will be enough fat in this you want a leaner grind.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
About the brown seasoning sauce. Kitchen Bouquet was the popular brand, and once upon a time this little bottle was almost as common in kitchen pantries as salt and pepper. It is still in most groceries, the distinctive bottle shape and yellow label pretty much unchanged. Made from caramel coloring, darkly browned vegetables, and seasonings, it was used primarily to darken sauces and meats. It has a little sweetness and not much flavor. You can skip it if you wish, it doesn't add much flavor. If you have Maggi Sauce or soy sauce, you can substitute them, but remember they are salty.
About the bread. The classic recipe calls for white bread, but I like it better with a big slice of something more rustic and hearty.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Finely chop the shallot or onion. Chop the fresh parsley.
  • Cook. Melt the butter in a medium hot 12" frying pan and add the mushrooms. Don't use a non-stick because you want to form flavorful brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the shrooms until they are limp and they exude water. Dump onto a plate and set aside to cool. Don't clean the pan.
  • Mix the beef with the onion, parsley, and cream. Form into patties shaped like the bread. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper on the surfaces, don't mix them in.
  • Heat the bacon fat in the same 12" frying pan on medium high heat, and cook the patties with the lid on until brown on both sides, about 6 minutes each side. Set aside on a plate.
  • Add the wine to the pan, and crank the heat to high with the lid off. Scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan and boil the wine for about 5 minutes to get rid of most of the alcohol. This is not an attempt to make the dish kid friendly. It makes it taste better. Add the stock and seasoning sauce and bring to a boil. Add the flour and use a whisk to mix it in thoroughly so there are no lumps. Cook until it starts to thicken. Add the mushrooms and any other liquid in the plate. Turn to medium low heat. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Add the patties and any liquid, and simmer on medium low with the cover on for about 5 to 7 minutes until the meat is 155°F in the center.
  • Serve. While the meat is warming, toast the bread and place it on the serving plates. Place the patties on the toast, and spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the top. Serve with mashed potatoes, peas, and red wine, and toast to history, the invention of the hamburger, and the great Ruth Ellen Church.