It has recently come to my attention that not everyone has been introduced to CHICKEN FRIED STEAK. Now, I am not referring to the measly little processed pieces of unappetizing “meat product” that you see out in a restaurant… no way folks … it’s a SIN to even CALL that CHICKEN FRIED STEAK! (which is why I think some places & people refer to it as “country fried steak”)
I am referring to a good ‘old-fashioned plate of Heaven – that I for one will be calling for if I ever find myself “DEAD MAN WALKING”
Okay, here’s a warning to all the dieters, vegetarians, health-nuts, etc…etc… – you should stop reading now. If you go any further and feel a need to jog 47 miles just to get the images out of your head… you’ve done so at your own risk and peril. I’ve done all I can do to save you.
A CHICKEN FRIED STEAK dinner is not healthy – lets just get that out there right up front. Your heart won’t thank you and your doctor will NOT want to know you had this on your supper table. (So don’t mention it.) I wouldn’t suggest that you make it a nightly treat or even weekly for that matter. But if you consider how often you don’t think twice about shoving a BLOOMING ONION in your face (which is in EXCESS of 3000 calories) or a SUPER SIZED MEGGA GLUTTONOUS TRIPLE BURGER MEAL 4 times a week for lunch… if you can just trade out one of those indulgences for this tasty CHICKEN FRIED STEAK dinner… you can just call it even (in my book).
For those of you whose kitchen is a staged dream and you don’t want to mess it up … get the phone – and order take out. This meal is messy to make, in fact wear an apron…and if you don’t have an apron – any old bath towel and some duct tape will work just fine. TRUST ME – it will look like a flour & egg BOMB went off in your kitchen by the time you’re done…but TRUST ME AGAIN…it will be SO WORTH IT!
Since all my disclaimers are out-of-the-way – let’s get on with it!
This is really more of a “how-to” rather than a “recipe” – you will realize this when you see more “little bit of this” – “splash of that” than you see actual measurements. I have watched my Mom make this meal since I was a little girl – so there’s not much thinking to it for me. Here’s what we are going to discuss in this “how to”
- Type of beef to purchase & where
- The best veggies to serve with this meal & how to prepare them
- The need for an iron skillet
- An attempt to explain how to make home-made gravy from scratch
- Type of BEEF and WHERE to get it:
You will want to use tenderized cubed steak for this masterpiece. It’s not expensive. The best place to get it would be at a meat market/butcher shop since it will be the most fresh from a place like that. But, you can get it at your mega-mart or local grocery store. “Tenderized” for the purpose of this meal means “with a meat hammer” (or brick or rock or actual hammer- it doesn’t matter) If you purchase the cube steak already tenderized – it will look like it has little holes & bumps pounded into it. If you do it yourself, beat it with your tool of choice until it looks like what i described above. (Here’s a picture just in case)
2. Cut your steaks in to strips – it’s easier to handle them that way and takes less time to cook.
3. For DREDGING – you will need 1 medium-sized shallow dish (like a brownie pan) and 1 small bowl. Beat eggs (about 4 eggs per pound of meat) – and milk (about 1/2 a cup to 4 eggs) until mixture is well blended. In the shallow dish mix 4 cups of flour (more if you are making more than 1 pound of meat) with salt & black pepper and 2 teaspoons of BAKING POWDER (NOT baking SODA). Combine those ingredients.
4. Pull out your iron skillet and pour about 1 – 1.5 inches of oil in it. Heat oil until it ripples in the skillet (you can test your oil by dropping a spec of egg mix into it) When its hot – dredge your meat strips in the FLOUR – then EGG – then FLOUR AGAIN. Drop into oil and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side. You will be looking for a golden to dark brown crust. Pull out of the oil and place on a paper towel covered plate in a 200 degree oven while the remaining pieces are cooking.
5. If you don’t have an iron skillet – get one. If you can’t or don’t want to – any heavy-duty deep skillet will do – but you will have to watch for even heat distribution when frying your meat. Iron cookware distributes and holds heat evenly.
6. VEGGIES – of course make what you like – but I recommend fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. Snap the stems & STEAM the green beans to your desired doneness. Throw in a dish with REAL BUTTER and a couple splashes of soy sauce – toss well to coat. (This is DEEE LISH!!)
For the potatoes – I prefer flakes for convenience purposes and have pretty much perfected the art of making them to where no one can tell that they were once flakes. LOTS OF MILK – LOTS OF BUTTER and some cream. Salt & pepper to taste – and JUST DON”T TELL ANYONE THEY ARE INSTANT. I promise – if you put enough butter & cream in anything – no one is going to complain.
7. Okay kiddies…this is the hard part…THE GRAVY. Plain and simple…you either know how to make scratch gravy or – you don’t. Fortunately for me, I have some “backwoods” swimming around in my gene-pool – so I can do it. If any of you have taken the time to watch the movie WINTERS BONE which is set in the Ozarks – you will see a lot of the same amazing skills I possess… except for the squirrel skinning… I can’t do that and hope there’s never a need to learn.
You will use your grease (YES GREASE) from the fry skillet once your meat is all cooked. What you want is all that yummy goodness that has collected on the bottom of the pan… bits of crust and what looks like …well … “sludge” – but in a good way. So you might want to run the oil through a screen or cheese cloth – but be careful its gonna be HOT. You will need about several tablespoons of the oil – well cover the bottom of your skillet. Get it hot again and start sprinkling in about 4-5 tablespoons of flour – maybe more (this is where you “just know”) -and stir until its bubbly & brown – not white- not gray- you are looking for BROWN. This is your RUE. Add milk and stir or whisk quickly or you will be enjoying lumpy gravy in a minute. You will use about 2 cups (or so) of milk. Too much milk (in my experience) is easy to fix… When the gravy starts to bubble and it’s not as thick as you want it – mix a tablespoon of flour with a splash of milk and whisk into the thin gravy- that should thicken it up.
If you’re too scared to make gravy- or not sure how its going to turn out – you can buy “country gravy” packets in the grocery store. THERE I SAID IT!! GRAVY IN A PACKET… ooohhhh my.
Well I hope you have enjoyed this HOW TO from Discover Fabulous. I am off to Cosper’s Meat Market for some cube steak and fresh green beans!
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