Wow, I made it. The holidays are over and I made it through and can still use my fingers to type as they were meant. For a while there, I wasn’t quite sure of what the outcome would be. I mean, it was really too close to call. At one point I thought about calling my sister, who is a nurse, and asking her for some advice.

I had been eating so much turkey I thought I might end up growing feathers. Yes, I know, we’ve all heard it all. If you eat the seeds of an apple or watermelon one will grow in your stomach and so on. Well, this I have to say was different. I was starting to walk with a distinct strut and instead of replying with a “huh” when I wasn’t paying attention when I should have been, I would give a little cluck.

This is a fairly simple steak dinner that can also be a meal fit for any special occasion.

Now that the holidays are over, most of us won’t be eating turkey for at least a little while. We have been eating these massive and elaborate meals that often took hours to prepare since Thanksgiving and it’s time for red meat.

There are a couple important things to remember now that I have decided a red-meat meal is in order. First and probably foremost, it has to be easy to prepare. There has been all too much time spent in the kitchen for the last month and I want to fix something fairly simple. With the weather colder and snowier, it’s the time of year for the casseroles and stews and other comfort foods to start making their appearance on the menu but not before one meal that includes a piece of red meat and a knife and fork.

The meal I have in mind is zwiebelrostbraten also called beef schnitzel by some. This is a fairly simple steak dinner that can also be a meal fit for any special occasion.

The thing that makes this different from a steak is the toppings. Some dishes use mushrooms or different sauces to distinguish themselves, and this one uses onions. Crispy fried onions served over the top of the meat are what create the signature of the dish. There is a sauce that can vary by using different recipes, but can be extremely simple if you want. That is, you can make a sauce using a wine reduction and a demi glaze, but you also can use shallots and water to deglaze the pan for a pan sauce, and with the addition of the onions the meal is complete. Try the simple way and enjoy.


1 steak (rib eye or New York strip or other sirloin, you also can slice a piece of round steak in which case I would pound it out a little like a cutlet.)

½ yellow onion, sliced as thin of rings as you can slice

½ shallot, fine diced

3 T flour

1 T butter

Oil to fry the onion

½ C water

Slice the yellow onion as thin as possible in rings. Lightly dust with flour so the rings are coated, but with not a lot of excess. Get the oil hot (around 350 degrees or so when you dip one piece of onion in it immediately starts to boil) and fry the onions until golden, stirring constantly so they do not clump together. This won’t take long.

Remove from the oil onto a paper towel and set near the stove to keep warm while you cook your steak.

Use a heavy pan, like a skillet if you have one or sauté pan and get it hot. If using a rib eye, my favorite, or a New York, I don’t usually pound it out but if using a lesser cut of meat pound it like a cutlet.

Get the pan hot and sear one side of the steak. Flip it over and put it right into the oven at 350 degrees. Cook until it is done to your desired wellness. Remove the steak and brown the diced shallots in butter on the stove top. Add the water to deglaze the pan and let reduce to half, scraping any drippings off the bottom of the pan. Pour the sauce over the steak and top with the fried onions.

Try some of Chef Smitty’s other beef recipes

Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. To read archived copies of Smitty’s column, visit or Contact him at or (530) 412-3598.