Nama’s Steak and Onions

Southern Kitchen
Steak and Onions

Serves: 6 to 8

Hands On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes


1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds bottom round, sliced into steaks about 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches square

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 pounds onions, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick, plus more as desired

Water or chicken stock, as needed


Spread the flour out on a rimmed baking sheet. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Using a meat pounder or the edge of a ceramic saucer, pound the steaks one at a time in the flour. The steaks should be pounded out to around 1/4 inch thick and should be well coated in flour. Dust off any excess and transfer to a second baking sheet.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the steaks in batches until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks back to the baking sheet.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon oil and the onions to the now-empty Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the steaks back to the pot with the onions and pour in enough water to measure about 1 inch up the side of the pot. (If there is additionial space in the pot, you can add more onions, if desired.) Cover and reduce the heat to low.

Cook, stirring about once an hour, until the meat is very tender and the onions have almost dissolved into the sauce, 2 to 3 hours. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve.

About the recipe

This simple smothered steak recipe is made from a short lineup of ingredients: steak, pounded thin and dredged in flour, that is simmered for hours with a passel of onions until they melt into their own juices and the steak becomes fork-tender. There’s no chicken-fried, crisp breading for the steak and there’s definitely no cream gravy. Practical, cheap and easy to cook, this recipe is actually — gasp — kind of light, when you think about it. Instead of that thick, rich sauce atop a deep-fried cutlet of steak, the gravy is almost entirely made of broken-down onions, enriched with some rendered beef fat and seasoned with salt and pepper.