the boys seem to really enjoy this, and to be honest, i do too. i previously only did the chicken fried steak thing in restaurants (texas ones, i don’t trust many others version of this delicacy. although the one made at the Homestead restaurant here in town is pretty good for being a wyoming CFS). but i digress. of course laura over at Homesick Texan put me in the mood for it while i was searching her index of recipes for good tex-mex to put on my weekly menus. you can’t really go wrong with hers, it’s everything you want in a CFS – brown, crispy crust, really nice, thin steak, homemade white gravy on top … it’s a “good thing” for someone with a big appetite and my boys have big appetites … here’s her recipe (my comments in parentheses)… her measurements are exact, but i just dumped and scooped, as amanda would say, “fuck tablespoons.”
Chicken Fried Steak
1 1/2 pounds of top-round steak (i also use petite sirloin strips which are cheaper at my grocery store and they work just fine)
2 cups of flour (i ended up needing more, just because i’m messy like that)
1/2 cup of milk or buttermilk (i prefer the buttermilk, lends a nice tang you otherwise wouldn’t get)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (can also add cayenne to add more heat).
Lard or vegetable oil (i use canola oil. i don’t break out the lard unless i’m making tamales)
Cut your top-round steak into four pieces.
Pound beef with a meat tenderizer until flattened and almost doubled in size.
Place flour in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix eggs in another large bowl with milk.
Take piece of tenderized beef and coat in flour. Dip coated beef into egg mixture and then dip back into flour again.
Heat on medium enough oil to fill halfway up the sides of a cast-iron skillet. When a drop of water makes the oil sizzle, it’s ready for frying. (OR when you stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and it bubbles up around the spoon, that’s a good way of judging if your oil is hot enough, too)
Take the coated beef and place it in the skillet. When the blood (er, red-meat juice) starts bubbling out of the top of the steak (about three to four minutes) gently turn it over with a long fork or some tongs (using a spatula can cause the oil to splash out of the skillet). Cook another five minutes and then take the chicken-fried steak out of the pan and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
Repeat process for remaining cutlets. And while you’re frying the others, you can keep the cooked steaks warm in the oven.
it’s best to serve these with the gravy and Erik’s super silky, awesome mashed potatoes. don’t even try to replicate his potatoes though, just get him to come over and make them. i don’t think they’d mail well …
The cream gravy itself is easy enough – you reserve a few tablespoons of the steak drippings, add a couple more tablespoons of flour, whisk it together really well until it bubbles and cooks out the floury taste, add milk slowly until it thickens, salt and pepper it well.
i never measure when i do gravies. i just dump and whisk and pour. so laura’s recipe goes like: 2 tbls drippings, 2 tbls flour, 1 1/2 cup milk. i just eyeball it until it’s all the right not-pasty consistency. practice this if you need to. my mom taught me how to make gravy first thing because she always said “if you can make gravy, you can make anything.” so far she’s been right about that.