Casseroles have timeless appeal for good reason. Most can be prepared with inexpensive ingredients, are easy to assemble and serve a crowd. Case in point: Lone Star Casserole, a hearty mix of beef and vegetables braised in creamy tomato sauce that appeared in the April 1965 Texas Co-op Power. The dish relies on round steak. To update the dish, I browned the meat in olive oil instead of shortening and replaced canned mushrooms with cremini. I couldn’t resist adding a bit of smoky bacon and fresh herbs to make the results richer and more fragrant. As the original recipe suggests, serve the dish with noodles or rice.
Lone Star Casserole
2 pounds round steak, cubed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
10–12 cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried) rosemary or thyme
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the steak and bacon and cook, stirring, until browned, about 7–9 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
3. Add the carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic and fresh herbs to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened and golden. Return the meat to the skillet (and any juices), sprinkle with flour and stir until the ingredients are coated. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine and then pour into a buttered 9-by-13-inch casserole. Bake about 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Serve warm, with noodles, rice or crusty bread.