Balsamic Braised Eye of Round Steak
These Eye of Round Steaks are cooked low and slow until they reach fork-tender deliciousness! This simple beef eye of round recipe uses braising method to tenderize lean and tough meat, simmering with onions in a flavorful honey balsamic sauce.
Eye of round steak is one of the leanest available cuts of beef. When cooked properly, it’s a delicious beef steak that’s low in fat and calories. Braised eye of round steak was said to be one of President Ford’s favorite dishes!
The steaks braise in a pot on the stove, creating tender pieces of meat that absorb the fragrant gravy. Along with other braised beef recipes like Crock Pot Cube Steak and Beef Stew, braised beef eye of round steak is a budget-friendly dinnertime hit. Just make sure to drizzle extra gravy all over!
Why braising works the best?
- What is Braising? Braising is a technique designed for tougher cuts. First, you sear the meat briefly with dry heat. Then it simmers low and slow with wet heat, using a lid to trap the moisture.
- Tenderizes the meat: The collagen in the connective tissue breaks down during braising, transforming tough eye of round steak into tender pieces.
- Retains the moisture: Submerging the steak in liquid retains moisture to prevent drying out.
- Builds flavor: The long simmering process adds depth of flavor and richness to the braising liquid, making the finished beef eye of round steak mouthwatering.
What is eye of round steak?
An eye of round steak is a small, boneless steak from the “round” section or the rear leg of the cow. As one of the most economical cuts of beef, it’s lean and tough.
This round steak is one of the tastier cuts of beef when cooked properly. Eye of round steak is best for braising, stir-frying, slow cooking, pressure cooking, and chicken fried steak.
The eye of round steak may look like a smaller tenderloin steak, but it’s far less tender. Marinating is often needed for high-temperature cooking such as grilling or pan-frying. However, I’ve found that even marinating cannot fully tenderize the meat, so my preferred method is low-and-slow cooking on the stove, oven or slow cooker.
Honey balsamic sauce
It’s the sauce that elevates this recipe to INCREDIBLE! The mixture of balsamic, honey, beef broth, onion, paprika, cinnamon powder, and ginger powder forms a mouthwatering liquid right in the pot, simmering and intensifying as time goes by.
Balsamic vinegar tenderizes the steak as it cooks, while the honey and soy sauce balance out the vinegar’s acidity. The long cooking process allows the beef and onions to absorb the liquid, adding maximum tenderness and flavor to the steak!
How to cook eye of round steak on the stove
- Sauté sliced onions in a skillet until soft and then set aside.
- Season the steak with thyme, salt, and pepper. Then dust it lightly with flour.
- Sear the steak in oil until nicely browned.
- Add balsamic vinegar, honey, beef broth, onion powder, paprika, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, together with the cooked onions.
- Bring to boil for 2-3 minutes, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2-2.5 hours or until the meat is tender.
Tips for making eye of round steak tender and flavorful
- Brown the steak: dust the meat with flour and quickly sear it to produce a richer and more flavorful steak. Browning happens as a result of a chemical reaction between sugar and proteins in the meat under high heat, known as the Maillard reaction, producing a wonderful roasted flavor.
- Cover with a lid: make sure the lid is on during the simmering process to retain moisture.
- Replenish liquid: check to make sure the liquid level does not get too low. Add water to come halfway up the meat when needed.
- Avoid overcooking: check the meat periodically, cooking longer if still tough. Remove it from the heat if a fork slides easily in and out, and it pulls apart without any resistance.
Can I make braised eye of round steak in the oven?
Yes, to braise in the oven, follow the instructions above to sauté onions and brown the steak. Then add all ingredients to an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Finish cooking in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for about 2.5 hours or until the meat is tender.
What to Serve with Eye of Round Steak
Braised eye of round steaks are best served with mashed potatoes. To turn the braising liquid into a delicious gravy, remove the meat and add a cornstarch slurry (a cornstarch and water mixture). Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.
I’d pair this with:
Eye of Round Steak Recipe
- 4 pieces eye of round steak, (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds or 0.8 kg in total)
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced, (1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
- Place a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add sliced onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Pat dry the eye of round steaks with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Season the steak with dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Then dust lightly with flour.
- Turn your pan to medium-high, add another 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add steaks and sear for 1-2 minutes PER SIDE until nicely browned.
- Pour in balsamic vinegar and beef broth, together with the sautéed onion.
- Add honey, onion powder, paprika, cinnamon powder, and ginger powder.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes or until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Simmer for 2-2.5 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. Make sure to check periodically through and replenish the liquid. (To replenish: Add water to come halfway up the meat, turn up the heat and bring to boil. Then reduce to low and keep simmering)
- Serve immediately and drizzle the sauce on top. (For a thicker gravy, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Mix 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water. Turn the heat to medium-high, add the mixture to the sauce and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until thick).
- You can make this ahead of time, and reheat in a covered pot on the stove until the meat is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Add water if needed.
- Make it in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Following the instructions above up to the simmering stage.
- After adding all ingredients to an oven-safe pan and bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven for about 2.5 hours or until the meat is tender.
- Make it in a crock pot:
- Season and dust the eye of round steak.
- Sear the steak in a pan and add to the bottom of the crockpot.
- Add uncooked onions and other ingredients to the crock pot.
- Cover and cook 2-4 hours on a high setting or 4-6 hours on low setting, until the steak is fork tender.
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