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Chicken-Fried Steak

 

Yeehaw! Chicken-fried steak is a big deal to us Texans and, although I’ve eaten it in restaurants more times than I can count, I’ve only tried to make this at home twice. The first time was years ago, and it was a disaster. The moment that poor steak hit the oil, its breading started falling off until it was as naked as the day it was born. That was a sad day.

Fast forward to the present – I decided to give this dish one more try. This time, I used a different recipe and the breading actually stayed put! The recipe includes an interesting method of scoring the meat, dredging it in flour, and then pounding the flour into the meat to help the final coating stick better. It may seem like a lot of extra work at first, but I promise once you get past the pounding part, it’s really not that bad. And you can leave the dredged steaks in the fridge for up to 4 hours before you fry them, so this gives you time to make the gravy and any side dishes.

The final result was better than any chicken-fried steak I’ve ever ordered at a restaurant. The breading was perfectly crunchy and flavorful, and when I cut into it – surprise! The steak inside was juicy, tender, and medium rare. Uhm, I just made a medium rare chicken-fried steak. Life doesn’t get much better than this. Oh wait, there was gravy too. Ok, life just got even better. You’ve got to try this one and experience it for yourself. God bless Texas (and chicken-fried steak)!

Chicken-Fried Steak

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound beef flap meat (aka steak tips, sirloin tips, or flap sirloin), cut into four 4-ounce pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  1. Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper in large bowl. Transfer 1 cup of this seasoned flour mixture to shallow dish. Beat eggs in a second shallow dish. Add milk to bowl with remaining flour mixture and rub with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Lightly score the steaks with a sharp knife at 1/4-inch intervals in a cross-hatch pattern. Repeat on the other side. Dredge meat in seasoned flour and, using a meat pounder, pound steaks to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. One at a time, coat steaks lightly with seasoned flour again, dip in egg mixture, and then transfer to bowl with milk and flour mixture, pressing to adhere. Arrange steaks on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes (or up to 4 hours); do not discard the milk and flour mixture.
  3. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Return 2 steaks to bowl with milk and flour mixture and turn to coat. Fry 2 steaks until deep golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining steaks. Serve.

Cream Gravy

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and garlic powder and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in small amounts of the chicken broth until the gravy is desired consistency (you may not need all of the broth). Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve. Gravy can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Country Skillet Suppers 2011 Special Issue

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