Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper

by Anne Papina on March 8, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Do you find this weird? Is it strange that one day, out of no where, a recipe lands in your inbox again? Embedded in a post that plows ahead as if there had been no lapse at all? Happy Sunday, because that’s where we are!  When I found out my peeps over at the #SundaySupper Movement were hosting a retro event, I decided to jump right back in. Heather over at HezziD’s Cooks and Books is hosting, and I’m bringing the ultimate retro comfort food–Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy–along with a tale that begins with the Civil War, detours through Richard Simmons’ Anatomy Asylum, and ends with the recipe right here on this page. OK, maybe things are getting a little weird. 😉

Certainly thoughts of Salisbury steak do not conjure up, at least for me, images of Civil War era health food–especially if you were a product of the 60s or 70s, when TV dinners were quite the novelty and the ultimate splurge for both the busy parent and the Sesame Street set. If it wasn’t fried chicken, it was Salisbury steak, tucked into a divided foil tray, where the main dish, along with potatoes, a veg medley, and a dessert all co-exist without ever mingling. I imagine this is not what Dr. James H. Salisbury had in mind when he invented the dish back in the 19th Century. After conducting his own studies, Dr. Salisbury concluded that a diet high in animal protein was best, and his steak made of finely minced meat was the centerpiece, thus creating one of the very first fad diets.

So how does Richard Simmons fit in?  Funny enough, it was a combination of Salisbury steak, along with a nudging mother, that led to an epiphany for Richard–how long would it take to burn off his dinner? Ultimately, he decided calories were not something to fear but rather something to respect. Richard, not being a fad diet kind of guy, went on to become one of the most popular health and fitness gurus around, and I had the honor of working at one of his Northern California Anatomy Asylums.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

What you can’t see here are all the fabulously bright 1980s leotards, tights, and leg warmers!

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean
Penny, my then mentor and now long-time friend, showed me the ropes of teaching aerobics.

While the Salisbury steak is not really a health food, as Richard surmised, it’s not all bad either. Just start with some lean ground beef, and there’s really not much else to it. I try to keep the patties on the thick side, so they don’t accidentally overcook. This version was adapted from an old Campbell’s Soup recipe, adding an extra layer of melt-in-your-mouth onion goodness. Variations are fun too, whether you want to toss in some mushrooms or a splash of red wine, this hearty fare will satisfy any family. Just add your favorite mashed potatoes, maybe a tossed salad on the side, and this easy meal is on the table in no time!


Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

This dish is super easy, and adding the extra onions really makes a difference.  Start off by sauteing the onions in the olive oil until they start to brown.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Add the beef patties, brown on both sides, then stir in the remaining ingredients to make the gravy. Cover and simmer until done. Easy peasy.

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy #SundaySupper | Webicurean

Serve with some mashed potatoes to soak up some of that yummy gravy.

Here’s the printer-friendly version:

5.0 from 2 reviews
Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simmered in a gravy of caramelized onions, this Salisbury steak dinner is a hit every time.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 10½ oz can condensed French onion soup, divided
  • 1½ lb 85% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup catsup
  • ¼ cup water (or dry red wine)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp prepared mustard
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute, stirring continuously, until they begin to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ⅓ cup of the soup with the beef, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper. Once thoroughly combined (you may need to use your hands for this), divide the meat mixture into six equal parts and shape into oval patties.
  3. Push the onions to the edges in the skillet and add the patties.
  4. While the patties are browning, in a small bowl, combine the remaining French onion soup with the rest of the ingredients. Once the patties are browned on both sides, stir the soup mixture into the pan, deglazing/scraping any stuck bits from the bottom. Cover and cook over low heat for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until done.


Let’s get this retro party started–seriously! Bookmark this page, and let it be the launching pad for your next shindig. For those of you in warm weather, maybe a retro garden party could be your theme. Snowbound? No problem, go old school ski lodge with your theme. The possibilities are endless, and #SundaySupper has you covered, from appetizers and cocktails, to desserts and everything in between. Heck, even my Salisbury steak above can be turned into meatballs for a cozy winter appetizer!

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Made in the Shade Main Dishes:

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

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