Thursday I got a call from my Mom. Just to let me know that she had some cube steak and that I could come by if I wanted. Hint #1.
Saturday I received another call from the matriarch letting me know that there was cube steak to be had should I choose and that she could set it out to defrost. Hint #2.
Twice on Sunday afternoon I received calls from my Dad who was just curious if I was gonna come by and perhaps enjoy some cube steak or should they make other plans. Hint #3 and final hint.
Well I don’t have to be hit over the head more than several times to get the message that some good people were anxious to have some CFS – Chicken Fried Steak to the uninformed.
And since it had been at least a couple months since I last made it, I was ready to go.
There will be as many arguments regarding the best Chicken Fried Steak as you will find about who is the best pro sports team. In fact you will find many varying stories on its origin. For those who feel comfortable in their CFS knowledge you may skip the following link. For those who are a bit curious about the history then click here.
I was raised in Texas and still park my cowboy boots here. I have seen, tasted and consumed many different takes on the CFS. Mom cooked it one way. Fast food joints another and fine dinning restaurants had even more varieties.
In Texas there are two main contenders. I have broken it down to East Texas style and West Texas style. They both start life as a cube steak but that is where they part ways.
Eastern is generally floured then dipped in a milk and egg mixture and then dipped in a bread crumb, corn meal or cracker mixture and then deep fried.
Western is more simple and elegant. The cube steak is dredged in a seasoned flour and then pan fried in a shallow pan with a small amount of oil.
I am grateful that Mom used the western style because I feel it is far superior to the eastern as it has far more beef flavor and makes it easier to create the wonderful cream/milk peppered gravy that is a must for the completed dish. I am not certain how she came to the western style as she was from the southeast, but as I said before – I am grateful.
I will save my recipe and suggestions for another day as I didn’t have my photo gear with me tonight and the only images I can offer are from the iPhone camera.
As far as sides, there is a lot of latitude. For me, Lima beans or green beans and carrots work well; any fresh summer veggie really – squash – corn come to mind. Mashed potatoes are required – not fries or any other style of potato. In the summer I love good thick slices of garden tomatoes with cracked black pepper. I almost forgot the biscuits – don’t forget them like i did last night.
So – here it is. A Western Texas styled Chicken Fried Steak.
For me the gravy is the hardest part. My Mom can make it as easily as most people fill a glass of water from the spout. For me it is more challenging and I will address it in a more complete CFS post in the future.
If you grew up with a different style then let me know because I am all about CFS education.