Because this dish is made with an inexpensive cut of round steak, it is important to really pound the steak to yield a fork-tender outcome. In the picture below, you can see the thickness of the meat starting out, and how thin it becomes by pounding it. After cutting the steak into individual portion sizes, I place a piece of steak in a zip-lock plastic bag; using a meat mallet, I pound it until it is half of the original the thickness.
Take the time to brown the meat in the butter, creating great color and delicious bits of goodness that will add to the final flavor of the sauce. The kitchen will smell wonderful like brown-butter beef.
The final results are like no other dish I have ever eaten. Families from all backgrounds find it to be comfort food like no other. The ketchup thickens, the onions melt, and the steak is fork-tender. It is best served with mashed potatoes. And, it is great the next day as left-overs.
I hope you enjoy and join in the annual tradition of making Casey's Ketchup Steak.
My Original Post:
February 3, 1922, my dad, Casey, was born. He was a cook in the US Navy during World War 2. The story goes that my dad made up this recipe for the sailors on board his ship and everyone loved it, including the Captain. When the Captain came to the kitchen to tell the cooks how much he enjoyed the meal, he wanted to know what it was called. Being the quick thinker my dad was, he stated "Greek Steak" which made the meal sound even more exotic. After the war, as a married man with 6 kids, my dad did some of the cooking relating back to his experience as a cook in the Navy. When he made this meal, we all thought is was pretty special. For kids to have steak, a rarity for us, and ketchup! How much better could it get? Forget the exotic name. We called it Ketchup Steak.
Now that my dad has passed away, the family has begun a tradition to make Ketchup Steak on or around his birthday. Even though many of us are not in the same town any longer, it is a way for us to come together and pay homage to our dad.
It is a simple recipe with just 4 ingredients. Traditionally we serve it with mashed potatoes and a vegetable, (corn is the family favorite). Enjoy.
Casey's Ketchup Steak
1 1/2 pounds of round steak
2 large onions (softball size)
20 oz ketchup
10 oz water
3 T butter
black pepper to season
Cut the steak into portion size pieces. Pound each piece to tenderize. Slice the onions into thin slices.
In a large straight-sided skillet, on medium heat, add the butter to melt. Add the steak pieces to begin browning,- can be done in 2 batches to avoid over crowding the pan. Once the steak is browned on both sides, add the sliced onions. Continue browning the steak, moving the onions around, until the onions have wilted. Add the ketchup, water, and sprinkle with black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to barely a simmer. Cover the pan. Simmer for 2 hours. The steak should be fork-tender and the onions almost melt into the sauce. The sauce will have thickened. Serve over mashed potatoes.