About 6 months ago, I had some time to make a good Saturday night dinner at home and the subject of Chicken Fried Steak came up. I realized that in almost 8 years, I had never made this dish for B. I am not really sure how that is even possible, but it was, so problem solved. That was dinner. I've made it a couple of other times and he says it's the best CFS anywhere. So, last weekend we were having dinner with our friend Scotty P. and we were all eating CFS at a local restaurant. We all agreed it was awesome, but B said mine was better. Now, I'm not bragging, but I had to agree. I have a theory that, like so many other dishes, CFS is better homemade. I don't know what it is--the batter is better, it isn't too crisp (yes, that can be a bad thing), you aren't only tasting the crust. I don't know; just better.
Anyway, we decided that Scott deserved dinner for mowing our lawn (B can't mow right now due to his condition) and that Chicken Fried Steak would the perfect payback--what can I say, I know what the guy likes!
What's going to follow isn't a traditional recipe as I sort of believe this dish is more of a method than a recipe. And, really, no one way is probably right. It's just what you like. Personally, I think there are a few things you absolutely HAVE to do/have to make it just right.
Chicken Fried Steak
- Tenderized Steak--cubed, round, sirlion; doesn't matter as long as it is tenderized
- Bread crumbs
- Seasoning of choice
- Vegetable Oil
Prep batter and "assembly line" first. Place milk in first bowl/pie plate. Crack and slightly whisk eggs in second bowl/pie plate. Mix flour, bread crumbs, and seasonings in third bowl/pie plate. If meat is in large pieces, cut into serving size pieces and salt/pepper each side. Line a baking dish/cookie sheet with paper towels and heat over to warm/low. Put vegetable oil in a deep skillet and heat to high/medium high. While oil heats, batter your meat.
- Dredge through flour mixture.
- Dip in eggs.
- Dredge through flour again, covering competely.
- Dip in milk.
- Dredge through flour again, covering completely, then shaking off excess.
- Place on plate in single layer.
Place meat into hot oil one at a time, not overcrowding the skillet. Cook on first side until you the crust form on the sides. Turn. Cook again until crust forms. Turn again and cook on each side one more time to crisp up the crust. Transfer to towel lined baking dish and put in over to keep warm until ready to serve.
All amounts will vary based on the amount you are cooking. My seasonings of choice are salt, pepper, garlic powder--and two "secret" ingredients: ground cumin and ground thyme. I wish I knew how long I cook the meat, but I usually just eyeball it. Next time, I'll time it, I promise
- Pan drippings from steak
Heat drippings in a separate skillet. Whisk in an equal amount of flour to the about of drippings. Season and continue to wisk for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until gravy boils and thickens. Remove from heat and taste to adjust seasoning.
All amounts are going to vary based on much you are making. I am so NOT an expert on gravy. It has taken me many years of many failures to "perfect" a white gravy. For me, the big thing was to transfer the dippings to a new skillet, something I didn't do for a long time.
Of course, you can't have CFS&G without mashed potatoes. I won't bore you with a recipe for that. I also made some green beans loosely based on some green beans my boss makes for Thanksgiving at work every year. One large can of flat, Italian green beans sauted with chopped onions in olive oil and tablespoon of butter (Smart Balance) with garlic powder and pepper. Green beans are the perfect veggie to serve along side this meal.