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Food for Thought: Salisbury Steak goes here. We make our own TV dinners

I'm definitely getting some of these.

This story originally aired Jan. 30, 2019.     

I recently made Daniel Gritzer's Swanson's Hungry Man style Salisbury steak recipefrom his Serious Eats blog for the second time, and it came out every bit as satisfyingly savory as the first. When I told  Nancy Leson, she told husband Mac, who exclaimed "My all-time favorite TV dinner!" So, Goodwife Leson made it, too, and we compared notes.

One of the first things I told Nance was to follow Gritzer's recipe exactly. This, I told her was  "..because I know you and I know you are prone to making on-the-fly substitutions" and some of his measurements may seem either excessive or insufficient. But I've followed his recipe precisely both times and in each the results were outstanding.

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nance made hers with a baked spud, but I think a Sal Steak cries out for mashed with a gravy crater.

Credit Stein / KNKX
Mine. Note the well cooked beans and gravy crater

Gritzer thickens the mushroom gravy with cornstarch rather than flour so as to get the glossy look of the original Swanson's. I'm on board with that, but I think he might have underestimated the amount needed. I suggest you reserve a little extra slurry, just in case.

No doubt this is a lot more work than slamming a real Hungry Man into the microwave, but it's so very good and it's fun. And to make it even more fun next time, I'll serve it in a divided tray like the one pictured up top. 

"I like the enchiladas and the terriyaki, too. I even like the chicken if the sauce is not too blue." ZZ Top "TV Dinners."

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.