Well, how long has it been? Long enough for me to know I have neglected my duties here. I bet it has been six months or so since the last post. My apologies are extended.
About a year ago I posted here with some historical information regarding one of my favorite all time meals – Chicken Fried Steak. Some may call it country fried steak or pan fried steak but for me it is Chicken Fried Steak. It was called that when my Mom first put one before my face many many moons ago and I will call it that until my last days. You can call it delicious.
So today I had the honor of cooking this wonderful Texas classic for my wonderful Texas parents. On my last post I didn’t provide a recipe or go into the details of the preparation. I am going to make up for that today.
There are so many ways to go about it but I have stuck mostly with what I learned from watching Mom cook it as I was growing up. I have tried other techniques but have always returned to her style mixed with a little bit of my style.
I start off with about a half a pie pan full of flour. If you use regular flour add a pinch or two of baking powder and if you use self rising flour don’t worry about the baking powder. I season the flour with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Use these seasonings ‘to taste’ – in other words in amounts that suit your palate.
Mix your flour well with a fork to get everything well dispersed. Set the flour aside and get out something like a casserole dish that will be able to hold your cubed steaks and a little milk. I seasoned the milk with the same ingredients as the flour and then added the four steaks to let them enjoy a little milk bath while I prep the vegetable sides for this meal.
On this meal I decided on lima beans – I love them so much – and fresh sweet corn, garden fresh tomato and of course mashed potatoes. I don’t think you can serve CFS without mashed potatoes.
Lima beans – I buy the frozen ones since I can’t recall the last time I have seen fresh ones in the store.
Cover them in water and add a good couple pinches of cracked black pepper. I bring them to a boil then lower to a simmer.
Mashed potatoes – I use russet potatoes. I was cooking for three adults tonight so two medium russets was enough.
Peel them any way you know how and then cut them up into maybe 1″ to 1.5″ size cubes. They will cook more evenly if they are all a consistent size.
Tomatoes- well, the toughest part is finding fresh and flavorful ones. Fortunately there are some really tasty ones showing up in the market just now. After you have selected your tomatoes just rinse them in water and cut into slices from the top down – nothing to it.
Sweet Corn- try to find sweet corn if you can. You will see more of it at the market as we move on into summer.
I shuck the corn, remove the silk and then boil in salted water until tender.
Now that the vegetables are under way you can dredge the steaks in your seasoned flour. Really press the flour into the steaks so that they get a nice coating of flour.
Set the steaks aside for a couple minutes and start heating the oil in your skillet. (I use peanut oil if I have it or canola if I don’t) I used maybe 1/4″ oil in a 10″ skillet. Use medium high heat. When you can take a pinch of flour and drop it in the oil and it immediately sizzles and bubbles then the oil is ready for the steaks. Lay the steaks in the skillet – as many steaks as you can add without crowding the pan. Stay nearby and be ready to turn the steaks over after three to four minutes. You are looking for a nice golden brown color and the steaks should lift easily without sticking to the skillet. Another three minutes on the other side and you should be almost there. When you have good color on both sides you can remove the steaks and set them on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Bread – I grew up having biscuits with this meal and I do love a well made biscuit but here lately I have discovered how delicious English Muffins are when buttered and then toasted under the broiler in the oven. Not just any English Muffin mind you – look for Bays Original English Muffins – they can be found in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. They are just amazing and hold up well to the gravy that goes with this meal. So butter your muffins and set them under the broiler. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. They will get golden brown and crispy pretty quick.
Cream Gravy - your skillet is still hot but you need to drain all but about three tbsp of the oil and then set the skillet back on the stove at between medium to medium low heat. Now you are going to add maybe a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the seasoned flour to the skillet. Mix it well with the oil and keep working it for about a minute so that the rawness gets cooked out of the flour. Now slowly begin adding your milk and mixing well with the flour and oil. This will thicken pretty quick but just keep adding milk until you get the lumps smoothed out and it begins to look like a gravy. You will want it to begin to bubble a little bit. Add some black pepper and keep stirring. If it is too thick add more milk and if it is too thin you can keep it on the heat and it will reduce and thicken with a little time.
Hopefully you didn’t burn the English Muffins and you have them out of the oven and resting on the counter. By now the potatoes have been boiled tender and are ready to be mashed. I used about 3/4 stick of butter and maybe 1/3 cup milk – seasoned to taste with salt and pepper and ran them through the mixer for a couple minutes.
Everything should be ready to plate and enjoy. I hope you have the chance to make this amazingly delicious meal from scratch – you will not believe how much better this is than going out for Chicken Fried Steak.