Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

Tonight's dinner was a throwback to the five years I spent living in Texas.  In Texas, steak is king, and chicken fried steak is served at nearly every roadside diner and restaurant in the state.  Every restaurant claims that their chicken fried steak is the best, but the easy way to tell the quality is by counting the trucks parked outside.  Any less than four pickups and you will not be getting a very good meal.  Some restaurants are famous for their chicken fried steak.  One such restaurant in Wichita Falls has a 64-ounce chicken fried steak dinner challenge.  Eat the 4 16-ounce steak smothered in gravy, with sides of mashed potatoes, greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread in an hour and you get it all for free.

Chicken fried steak gets its start as a tough piece of cheap round steak.  It is first tenderized, then breaded and fried in a manner similar to chicken, and finally topped with a gravy made in the same pan as the steak was fried in.  The steak comes out tender with a crispy coating, and the gravy complements it perfectly.  Served along side a pile of loaded mashed potatoes, some green beans and bacon, and steamed carrots with parsley; this meal is a huge plate of comfort food just waiting to satisfy the hungriest of appetites.

Chicken Fried Steak

1 1/4 lbs cubed steak or round steak, tenderized, cut into four pieces
2 eggs
1 cup + 2 Tbsp milk, divided
2/3 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp seasoned salt
1 cup chicken broth
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In shallow bowl or pan, beat eggs and 2 Tbsp milk together.  In separate bowl or pan, stir together flour and seasoned salt.  Dredge steaks in flour, dip in egg mixture, and then back in flour.  Let sit on plate for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking (this will help with making sure the coating stays on the steaks during cooking).

Heat heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat for at least five minutes (an iron skillet works great here).  Add enough oil to just cover bottom of skillet.  Fry steaks 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through, adding more oil to pan as necessary.

When steaks are finished, remove from pan and place in 200 degree oven to keep warm while preparing gravy.  Add enough oil to pan to make about 2 Tbsp dripping in bottom of pan.  Add 4 Tbsp flour (you can use the leftover flour from step 1) and whisk until combined.  Cook 1 minute.  Add chicken broth to pan, stirring constantly.  Add 1 cup milk to pan and continue stirring 3 to 4 minutes until gravy comes to a boil and thickens up.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top steaks with gravy to serve.

Hopefully you enjoy this as much as I did.

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