Recipe 4: Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak or Country Fried Steak as it is sometimes referred to is not something we eat of up here in Canada. I was first introduced to it on the menu of a U.S. chain restaurant when we were kids. Heading south for a vacation we stopped for a bite. I had no idea what it was at the time but it sounded good and ordered it. Low and behold a plate of golden brown fried meat arrived with some white gloppy gravy and mashed potatoes on the side. I wasn’t impressed with the white gravy and scraped it off, but the meat was delicious. I’ve included the white gravy in the recipe below for those who may like it. I generally serve mine without. Curious as to where it originated I recently did a bit of research into the origins and there seems to be some speculation as to WHERE it originated. Many sources attribute the development to German and Austrian immigrants who arrived in Texas in the nineteenth century bringing with them came their recipes for Weiner Schnitzel. Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County on the Texas South Plains claims to be the birthplace of chicken-fried steak.

The Virginia Housewife, published in 1838 by Mary Randolph has a recipe for veal cutlets that is one of the earliest recipes for a food like chicken-fried steak. The recipe for what we now know as chicken-fried steak was included in many regional cookbooks by the late nineteenth century.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds top round steak, about 1/2″ thick, tenderized
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cracker crumbs, finely crushed (If crackers are salted I omit the salt added above)
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
a few dashes Worcestershire sauce, optional
a dash or a few hot sauce, optional

Directions
Mix 1/2 cup of flour with the salt and pepper. Pound the mixture into both sides of the meat with a meat mallet. Cut the meat into serving-size pieces. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the flour. Beat eggs together with the cream. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Dredge steaks in the remaining flour, dip in the egg mixture, and then into the cracker crumbs. Add to the hot oil. Brown the steaks well, turning to brown both sides. Reduce heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the steaks are cooked through and tender. the chicken-fried steak or country fried steaks should be well done, but not dry. Remove the steaks from the pan, and drain on paper towels or brown paper. Keep warm. Add the onion slices to the pan and sauté until tender. Remove onions and keep warm with steaks. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet; stir in 3 tablespoons of the flour. Stir well and scrape bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in the cream, then the chicken broth. Season with Worcestershire and hot sauce. Top the meat with the gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes, greens, and biscuits.

2 pound steak will yield 4 to 6 servings

FOOTNOTE: Tastes like MORE!!!! Highly fattening and by adding gravy to the mix makes it that much more so. Waddle on up to the trough everyone….


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