Mother’s Swiss Steak and Catsup Gravy


My mother was married and cooking for her family while she was still a teenager in the years of the Great Depression.  She made simple, low-cost meals with a minimum of ingredients and fuss.  My father wanted mashed potatoes with practically every meal, so her Swiss Steak and Catsup Gravy went perfectly with his mashed potatoes.  I personally didn’t like mashed potatoes – except when they were served this way with gravy that was rich and deep flavored from long, slow baking.

Mother & Daddy, 1933
Mother & Daddy, 1933


  • 1 lb round steak
  • Sprinkling of salt
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1-½ cups catsup
  • ½ cup water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Remove any large pieces of fat from steak and place in 9 inch casserole dish.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt and a grating of black pepper.

Slice onions and spread on top of steak.  In a two-cup measure, mix together the catsup and water.  Pour over meat and onions.

Cover and bake @ 300 degrees F for 3 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

4-6 servings 


My father would have liked creamed peas and sliced tomatoes with a dab of mayonnaise to go along with this dish.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

16 thoughts on “Mother’s Swiss Steak and Catsup Gravy”

  1. That looks good. I love mashed potatoes – just with butter, yum. This would be quite tasty, though, and I think I will look for the meat when I go to the grocery today. I love the picture of your parents.

  2. Stopping back to say that I made a slightly modified version of your recipe today. I had a flatiron steak out of the freezer, so cut it into 4 pieces, salt and pepper, half an onion that was lingering in the fridge chopped over it. I didn’t measure the catsup–merely added a bit of water and a dash of Worstershire to what remained in the bottle, gave it a good shake and pooured it over the steak. My oven was on at 350 for some other baking. I took the steak out after about 1 1/2 hours, served with mashed potato and fresh asparagus. It met with approval!

    1. I’m sure adding the Worcestershire sauce improved the flavor. I was using my mother’s recipe and she would never have had anything that exotic in her kitchen – plus my father probably wouldn’t have like it. I’ll have to try a dash in mine the next time I make it. Lillian

  3. I stared at the way I had spelled ‘worcestershire’ last night and knew it was wrong but hadn’t the energy to go look at the bottle and get it right! My dad would also have been very suspicious of any such ingredient–my mother didn’t use much beyond salt and pepper in her cooking.

  4. I have been eating Swiss steak since I can remember. My mom would never have put Worcestershire in hers!! Lol
    I add some chopped garlic, beef base instead of salt and a little marjoram. Yum.

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