February 19, 2008


How to make authentic Texas chicken-fried steak: Celebrating honest-to-goodness, mouth-watering chicken-fried steak like Gennie used to make (KIM PIERCE, 2/19/08, The Dallas Morning News)

2 pounds round steak, more if desired

Vegetable shortening (for frying)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

Pan gravy (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to lowest setting. Place the round steak on a cutting board. Trim bone and excess fat and discard. With a meat mallet, tenderize each piece back and front. Or ask the butcher to run the steak through a mechanical tenderizer. Cut steak into individual portions.

Place a cast-iron or other good, heavy skillet over medium flame. Add shortening and start heating. The shortening should be no deeper than ¼ inch. Heat until it's hot enough to set the breading on the steak when it's dropped into the skillet. Don't heat to smoking; this will ruin the shortening.

Meanwhile, combine salt, pepper and flour in a large zip-top plastic bag. Mix well. Pour milk into a large bowl. Dip a steak in milk and shake off the excess. Then enclose in bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess. Lay steak in hot fat. Repeat with additional steaks until skillet is full, but not crowded. When each steak sears, the bottom crust is set and it starts sizzling, turn it over and set the other side. You may need to do this in batches.

Keep steaks warm on a platter in the oven while you cook remaining steaks and make the gravy. Makes 6 servings.

Pan gravy: In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan, heat 3 cups milk but don't let it boil. Using the skillet in which you cooked the steak, pour off excess grease, leaving about 4 or 5 tablespoons in the pan. Over medium flame, heat the drippings and add 3 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue stirring to brown flour. When brown, hot and bubbling, add hot milk. Stir constantly until thick and creamy. Add 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

After returning from working on a geoseismic crew in Texas there were exactly four foodstuffs I missed: biscuits & gravy, Wolf Brand chili cooked on a truck manifold, Shiner Beer and chicken-fried steak.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2008 6:19 PM

Yum. Check your cholesterol counters at the door please.

Posted by: Bartman at February 19, 2008 7:33 PM

Oh Please,
TX chicken fried steak, what cut is "cubed", from Texascooking.com

Texas-Style Pan Fried Sirloin
If you look around at recipes for Chicken Fried Steak, then you will notice they all say to cook it in a pan. Yet in a restaurant, you almost never get a pan-fried steak. The recipe below is pretty standard. The main difference for my version is that I use breadcrumbs instead of just flour or cracker crumbs. I like all the versions, but to give a broader appeal, I am going with a very classic breading technique with the addition of a little buttermilk. Using the Top Sirloin steak makes a big difference in the texture. Choose a steak that is absent of large fatty areas, but that does have good marbling of fat.

2 Top Sirloin Steaks about ¼ inch thick and as big as you like them
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
1 tsp Granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon Good Quality Chili Powder (optional)
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1 cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
1 Cup (more or less) Vegetable Oil
1 Meat Tenderizing Hammer
Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder. Season the steaks on both sides liberally. Using the hammer with the coarse spike side, pound the seasoned steaks to tenderize and work the seasoning into the meat. Be careful not to pound too thin, but you have to use enough force to actually start breaking down the fibers a little bit. Just putting a nice hammer mark on the steak won't do much. You want to make the steak a little thinner and a little larger to accomplish the tenderization process.
Set up your breading station with a bowl of the flour, a bowl with the buttermilk mixed with the egg, and a bowl of breadcrumbs. Dredge the steak in the flour, coating evenly. Shake off the excess and dredge into the buttermilk/egg mixture. Now dredge the steaks in the breadcrumbs. You want to make sure the steaks are coated evenly. Set aside on a plate; you can layer between wax paper.

At this point you want to have your potatoes cooking or finished, and your vegetables ready to go. See recipes below.

In your cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add your steaks. If you skillet is too small, you can cook in batches. You want to have enough oil in the pan to come a little more than half way up the side of the steaks when they are cooking. You do not want to submerge the steaks in oil. The temperature should be around 300F. It will vary during the cooking process, but you want to maintain a temp above 250F and no more than about 350F. Adjust the heat as necessary while you cook. You will know if your pan is too hot if your steak starts to get too dark. You want a nice simmer happening in the pan. When you start to see juices bleeding through the top crust of the steak, it's time to turn it. About 5 minutes per side. You are looking for a nice brown color on the crust, like the color of dark wood, but not the color of chocolate. You should turn your steaks only once. When both sides are done, remove from the pan and drain on a brown paper bag or towel. Keep them in a warm oven until the gravy and everything else is ready to go.

Creamy Pan Gravy

There is a term in classic French cooking called "fond." This term describes the browned caramelized concentrated residue that remains in the pan after something has been cooked. The fond is what you are after when you "deglaze" a pan. It's what adds richness to any pan sauce. And fond is what's missing in most restaurant versions of cream gravy. This version is a little different in that it also has chicken stock, and a little wine.

2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons reserved oil from pan
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup Half-and-Half
¼ cup White Wine
1 teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt
Using the pan you just fried your steaks in, drain off all the oil into a container and measure out 2 tablespoons of the oil, returning it to the pan. Turn up the heat a little to medium-high. Add the flour and cook for a few moments until a paste is formed, making sure there are no lumps in the flour.
Add the wine and the chicken stock. Use a whisk to quickly incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, ensuring there are no lumps. Bring up to a simmer. The gravy will get very thick at this point. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the fond incorporated into the gravy. Add the Half-and-Half a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. You want a thick sauce, but not a paste. Finish with the salt and the black pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste.

Don't be shy with the gravy when you serve the steak. You want enough to get a good amount with every bite. Make a "gravy well" in the potatoes, and have any leftover gravy available on the side in a gravy boat.

Posted by: Mike at February 19, 2008 11:39 PM