Salisbury “steak” has never been better

I remember the first time I tasted Salisbury steak.

It was sometime back in elementary school in the town in which I group up in. I sat on the rickety “cafeteria” tables lined up in the school gymnasium and dug into this peculiar, misshapen patty covered in a rich, dense sauce.

Much to my delight, it was . . . delicious? It was so much homier, so much more filling, so much more home-style than the other, oftentimes heinous lunch offerings.

What was this odd dish? Why did I like it so much? 

I never really re-considered it again until years later, when a pal and I were hanging out and got hungry. She rummaged through her freezer and found some Salisbury steaks and I had an immediate flashback to the lunch I had approximately a decade earlier. The frozen iteration, though, was not nearly as enjoyable. 

I then didn’t think about Salisbury steak again for a good 15 years.

For some reason, though, as the temperatures plummet and my forearms ache from incessant snow shoveling and salting, I harkened back to these days of yonder for the coziest, comfiest, warmest comfort meal imaginable (besides, I can’t always opt for chicken parm.!) I had some ground chicken and a ton of mushrooms in the fridge . . . and that’s when it hit me: Why not make Salisbury “steak” out of ground poultry? And the rest is history!

Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to Salon Food’s newsletter, The Bite.

Part meatloaf, part meatball, part burger, this peculiar amalgamation (sometimes called “hamburger steak) is any sort of patty comprised of whatever you’d like (plant-based proteins, pork, lamb, beef, turkey), then browned and enveloped in a lush mushroom gravy. 

Here’s my version. It brought me right back to the first Salisbury Steak I tasted, way back in elementary school. And that made me happy. 

Lean into your retro era this weekend with this classic dish; it’s sure to be a surefire hit.

Chicken Salisbury “Steak”


4 to 5 servings

Prep Time

15 minutes


1 pound ground chicken (or whatever protein or plant-based protein you’d like)

1 teaspoon adobo

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 teaspoon A1 sauce (I know, I know, just trust me)

1 to 2 teaspoons garlic paste or spread (you can also use a few garlic cloves or a considerable few shakes of garlic powder)

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup heavy cream or sour cream, divided

Canola oil

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups chicken broth or stock

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 stick butter

Freeze-dried chives


  1. In a large bowl, mix ground protein with adobo, bread crumbs, egg, A1, garlic paste or spread, onion powder, Dijon, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and cream until well blended.
  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Form a tiny tester patty from the ground chicken mixture and cook to taste for seasoning. 
  3. If need be, add more salt or any other ingredient. Then shape ground chicken mixture into 4 or 5 large portions. Roll into large balls before flattening into patty or burger-like shapes. 
  4. Add patties to pan and cook until well browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
  5. Drain the oil from the pan.
  6. Add new oil, shallots and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  7. Add mushrooms (do not season). Cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown and release their moisture. 
  8. Add red wine and reduce until the pan is nearly dry.
  9. Add stock and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid has slightly reduced. 
  10. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and a bit of water. Stir into cooking liquid until it thickens slightly. 
  11. Add butter and let melt. Season.
  12. Add patties back and repeatedly toss, turn and drape with sauce and mushrooms.
  13. Cook everything altogether for another 3 to 5 minutes
  14. Top with chives and serve.

Cook’s Notes

-This dish is very often served with mashed potatoes, but I don’t really ever make those aside from on holidays. I served mine with roasted cauliflower, but I think the ideal pairing here is actually egg noodles. You want something that can sop up all that terrific sauce!

-If you’re not a mushroom person . . . I’m not sure if this is the recipe for you, truthfully? The sauce is legitimately *all* mushroom. You can totally just go with a sauce comprised of stock, onion, butter and herbs, but it might fall a little flat.

Read more

about this topic


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar