Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Indulging My Inner Southern Chick

Sunday night arrived with just a hint of fall in the air. It had been a tough day, and the week ahead was jam-packed with activities and responsibilities. Time for serious comfort food.

My newest copy of Saveur arrived just in time, because it contained a recipe for comfort food gold: chicken fried steak.

Now, chicken fried steak is something I’d never had before, but DucCat perused the recipe and pronounced it fit. Of course, a meal like this called for the appropriate sides; mounds of mashed potatoes to soak up all the gravy, and spicy collard greens.

It may not be the prettiest plate of food, but it was pretty darned comforting.

Chicken Fried Steak
Serves 4

From Joe Gracey, via Saveur magazine

2 cups plus 3 Tbsp. flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cram
2 cups milk
1 cup lard or vegetable shortening
1 8-oz piece trimmed beef top round, pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness
pinch cayenne

NOTE from s'kat: be sure you really pound the beef down to 1/4-inch! My portion of the steak wasn't flattened enough, and was rather tough and chewy. DucCat's was uniform in thickness, and absolutely perfect.

Put 2 cups of flour into a wide shallow dish and gernerously season with salt and pepper.
Put eggs, cream and 1/3 cup of the milk into another wide, shallow dish and beat well.
Preheat oven to 200-degrees. Melt lard or shortening in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot or about 360-degress on a candy thermometor. Meanwhile, working with 1 piece of meat at a time, lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge beef in seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then dip each side into egg mixture, then dredge in flour again, shaking off excess. Fry meat in the hot fat, turning once, until dark golden brown on each side, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack set over baking sheet and keep warm in oven . Repeat seasoning and cooking process with remaining meat and flour and egg mixture , transferring meat to oven to keep warm as done.
Discard all but one Tablespoon of the fat from the skillet and heat over medium heat.
Add remaining flour and cook, whisking constantly until golden, 1-2 minutes. Gradually; add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Season gravy with cayenne and 1/3 tsp. black pepper and cook, whisking constantly, until consistency is slightly thicker than that of heavy cream, about minute. Season to taste with salt. Divide chicken fried steak between 4 plates and spoon plenty of gravy over each luscious steak.


Blogger peeps said...

S'kat -

I was so excited to see this post. My boyfriend and I devoted a whole evening to trying to learn the art of frying - our goal was to start with some leftover strips of pork and eventually work our way up to the chicken fried steak. We didn't have a recipe, which may account for our conclusion that a good time was had, but we didn't quite reach a mastery. We're committed to trying again - will definitely look to this post when we do.

October 08, 2005 12:34 AM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Hey peeps-

Like I said, don't be afraid to pound that bad boy into a thin little steak. It's really what will aid it into becoming what you want.

In fact, if you are just getting your way around frying, chicken parm is also a good- and instructive- place to start. Get a frying screen, and don't be afraid.

(or, be like us, don't get a frying screen, and clean a lot of shit up when you're done each time. It still comes out good on the back end. ;)

October 08, 2005 1:16 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Have you ever seen Southern Living's CFS recipe? If not, here it is.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Southern Living magazine's Chicken-Fried Steak

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cube steaks -- (4 ounce)
38 saltine crackers -- crushed
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour -- divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt -- divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper -- divided
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups peanut oil
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

SPRINKLE salt and pepper evenly over steaks. Set aside.

COMBINE cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper.

WHISK together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker crumb mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again.

POUR oil into a 12-inch skillet; heat to 360 degrees. (Do not use a nonstick skillet.) Fry steaks 10 minutes. Turn and fry 4 to 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack on a jellyroll pan. Keep steaks warm in a 225 degree oven. Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

WHISK together remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 4 cups milk. Pour mixture into reserved drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Serve gravy with steaks and mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

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October 09, 2005 12:35 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Anna, I'll have to give that one a shot on the next go-round. Thanks!

October 10, 2005 9:31 AM  

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