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Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

That old country classic.. No real recipe to it, just some steps. This very easy to make dinner has a wonderful blend of Creamy sauce, crisp crust and very tender meat, if done right.

BLOG POSTINGS > Everyday Meals

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

by zirbirt

Most people get lost at the very first ingredient of country fried steak, the meat. What is the 'right' meat to use in a country fried steak. Is it Top Round, bottom round, flank, cubed? Its all very confusing... but actually, the only question for me is.. what is very cheap?

See Country fried steak is not so much a way to prepare a specific type of meat, as much as its a way to prepare cheap meat to make it really good. So, I just go with whatever meat is cheap. In this example, I found Sirloin tip steaks for $3 for a pack of 4. I knew when I saw this that it would be country fried steak... and at $1.50 a serving (no one can eat just one small steak).. You cannot beat the price.

Now, you might notice I keep saying meat, not beef. That is because you can do it with any meat really.. though I guess it won't technically be country fried steak. So Pork, chicken, turkey, veal, lamb.. whatever floats your boat. Results will vary, so I want to explain what we are looking for in a basic sense.

Obviously we want cheap meat. We want meat that is a solid chunk of meat without bone (we will be pulverizing it, so bones would be bad). I prefer meat that is otherwise tough, and I usually look for something that will flatten down to a proper size. so it has to be at the very least 1/2 inch thick.

For your tools: you need a meat mallet. If you don't have one, you can use a can of beans or something, but this time we are using the pulverizing end of the mallet. So you might not end up with as tender a result. If you plan on making this more than once, I definitely suggest you invest in a decent meat mallet. (I prefer the cast metal ones that are one solid piece). Other than that we need a large skillet of some sort.

For ingredients: just meat, some oil, salt and pepper, some flour and some butter and milk. That is all.

To begin, I take my meat, 1 piece at a time, and sprinkle it on both sides with salt and a little fresh ground pepper.

I lay saran wrap over it, then using the not-flat side of my meat mallet (which I wish I would have taken a picture of). I pound it. I start from the middle and work my way out, always trying to get everything to the same thickness.

Then I flip the meat over. Replace the saran wrap and beat it some more, just to make sure it learned it's lesson.

Notice how thin that is? That is what we want. The indentations you see are from the pulverizing part of the mallet. The reason I use that is to help really break down those meat fibers. I want a very easy chew on this meat. This tough meat will actually end up about fork tender (meaning it can be easily cut with a fork)

Next up, I take a paper plate and put in 1/2 cup of flour and sprinkle in a little salt and fresh ground pepper.

I then take some kind of large bowl and add 1 egg and about a cup of milk. I whisk this thoroughly.

I set both of these next to each other next to the stove.

I then take my very large skillet and pour enough oil in to cover the bottom by about 1/4 inch.

I put this on medium high (about 6) and let it warm up (let it get hot, if it isn't hot the flour will absorb the oil and you will end up with soggy, not yummy crust)

Once it is hot, I dredge the meat in the flour (I lay it down, and coat it in flour)

Then I dip it in the egg (fully coat it).. then I put it in flour again (fully coating it)

This seems redundant I am sure. I mean flour, liquid then flour again? Egg and milk does not stick to meat very well. Flour on the other hand does... and egg and milk sticks amazingly well to flour. So if I didn't do the flour then the liquid.. my crust would pretty much fall off my meat... but by having that layer of flour there, it all holds together and makes a nice attached crust. So.. don't skip it, trust me.

Next up, I lay it flat in the pan (I do one at a time, you can do 2, but make sure not to overcrowd the pan.. if you do the oil temp will drop and we go back to soggy, not yummy crust)

Thin meat, cooks pretty quick. So I'm just looking for it to turn golden on the bottom. Then I flip it, and do the same on the other side.

I do this for all 4 pieces of meat. I place them on a baking rack in a 250 degree oven, just to keep them warm, while I make the gravy.

As you cook, you might notice some dark spots on your breading (as you see in my pic above). This is very normal when using fresh meat, as opposed to frozen premade whatever the heck they are things. It is the juices escaping a little bit and darkening in the heat.

Once I'm done cooking the meat, I have a pan full of oil, drippings, seasoning and some breading. This is NOT TRASH. This is flavorized fat... but we don't want it all. I dump out all but about 1 Tablespoon of the fat. I let all that cloudy gunky stuff STAY in that one tablespoon. Yup, I use the dirtiest nastiest bit..

Then I drop in 2 Tablespoons of butter... and let it melt. (over medium heat)

Once the butter is fully melted I drop in 3 level tablespoons of flour and mix it all together.

I let that come to a nice bubbling boil... whisking regularly.

Then I pour in 2 cups of milk plus a little salt and fresh ground pepper... and whisk away..

Now, I just bring that to a boil over medium heat, while whisking frequently. It will become thicker and thicker so once it hits the constancy I want, I turn off the heat.

I then place 2 steaks on each plate and cover with sauce.

Note.. if you are a princess and prefer pure white sauce.. just use 3 Tbs butter in a clean pan when you start your gravy, instead of the 1 Tbs of dirty oil and 2 Tbs butter... but seriously, you will be missing out on a ton of really good flavor.

Hope you enjoyed this posting! thanks for reading.

zirbirt
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