Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chicken Fried Steak with Peppered Milk Gravy

For those in the know, of course chicken fried steak (aka, country fried steak) isn't chicken at all but rather cubed beef round steak that's been breaded, pan fried, and served with a peppered milk gravy. So why is it called "Chicken" fried? Probably because it's cooked in a similar way as fried chicken. Go figure. Anyways, it's a Southern staple that originated in Texas and is now standard fare in many a diner. It's one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.

8 cubed steaks (tenderized beef round steaks)
3 cups whole milk + 6 cups for gravy
4 large eggs
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. cayenne
4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 cups vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped 
4 cloves garlic, minced

1. In a shallow dish/casserole, mix 3 cups of milk with the eggs; set aside.

2. In another shallow dish, combine flour with cayenne, salt and pepper; set aside.

3. Place cubed steaks on a large platter or baking sheet. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each steak in the egg mixture, then coat in the seasoned flour, then once again in the egg mix, followed by a final dredge in the flour (double dipping, basically). Place the battered steak onto a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining steaks. 

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until quite hot, but not smoking (cast iron works great if you have it). Add 4 of the steaks at a time (do not overcrowd) about 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly golden brown. Place on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and keep in the oven (don't turn the oven on). Repeat with the remaining steaks.

5. For the gravy: Pour off all the grease except for about 1/2 cup. Bring the oil back up to heat and then saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the seasoned flour left over from the dredging over the onion-garlic mix and whisk until smooth. Continue cooking for several minutes until the roux becomes golden. Pour in 6 cups of milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and a liberal amount of black pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until gravy is creamy and smooth. 

6. Pour gravy over the fried steaks. Can also be served with mashed potatoes or buttermilk biscuits on the side. 

Egg-milk mixture and seasoned flour.

Minced onion and garlic.

Cubed steaks.

Season both sides with salt and pepper. 

Dredge in egg-milk mixture.

Then coat with seasoned flour. Repeat the egg-flour dredge one more time.

Place breaded steaks onto a foil-lined baking sheet.

Heat oil in a large skillet; fry 4 steaks at a time, about 2-3 minutes per side until golden.

Drain steaks on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven (do not turn on) to keep warm. Repeat with remaining steaks.

Remove all but 1/2 cup of oil in the skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.

 Sprinkle 2/3 cup of flour over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Cook for several minutes until lightly golden.

Whisk in 6 cups of milk; cook, stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes until gravy is smooth & creamy. 

Season with salt and a liberal amount of black pepper.

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