Sunday, April 24, 2011
Chicken Fried Steak!
This is so good that it totally deserves the exclamation point! I make a lot of Italian themed dishes and all of them are arguably my favorite meal depending on my mood. This is probably my favorite thing I've ever made that didn't involve tomatoes. I've had chicken fried steak only a few times, and living in NJ and not Texas, it's hard to find restaurants that actually make it homemade. Apparently Texas restaurants serve over 800,000 chicken fried steak orders every day! Needless to say, our next trip to Austin is going to include a chicken fried steak dinner. So knowing what this dish should taste like, and not what I've eaten in local diners, I set out to find a few recipes.
There were several that looked good, but I settled on a tried and true recipe from our friends at Cooks Illustrated. Instead of using 6 small steaks, we used 2 good sized steaks, maybe 8 or 10 oz each, but kept the measurements of everything else the same. This allowed me to use a bit more batter on the steaks, a very good thing. Being bigger steaks, we cooked them one at a time, much easier this way I think. Another change we made to the recipe was we used a vegetable/corn oil blend instead of peanut oil. They didn't have peanut oil at the grocery store, and we didn't see the need to track it down just for this recipe.
As you can see, we served this with some delicious mashed potatoes and Bec's fluffy biscuits.
Tip: definitely use a dutch oven to cook these in. I used our trusty 12 inch cast iron skillet, and it got a little messy. If we had a gas cooktop, we'd probably be posting about a kitchen fire and not chicken friend steak.
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 cube steaks , about 5 ounces each, pounded to 1/3 inch thickness
- 4 cups peanut oil (or enough to come up an inch in your dutch oven)
- 1 medium onion , minced
- 1/8 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 3 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
1. For the steaks: Measure the flour, 5 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne into a large shallow dish. In a second large shallow dish, beat the egg, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the buttermilk (the mixture will bubble and foam).
2. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Drop the steaks into the flour and shake the pan to coat. Shake excess flour from each steak, then, using tongs, dip the steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the steaks with flour again, shake off the excess, and place them on the wire rack.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a second wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of oil in a large (11-inch diameter) Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place three steaks in the oil and fry, turning once, until deep golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes (oil temperature will drop to around 335 degrees). Transfer the steaks to the paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer them to the wire rack in the oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat the cooking and draining process (use fresh paper towels) with the three remaining steaks.
4. For the gravy: Carefully pour the hot oil through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot. Return the browned bits from the strainer along with 2 tablespoons of frying oil back to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat to medium, add the onion and thyme, and cook until the onion has softened and is beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the flour to the pan and stir until well combined and starting to dissolve, about 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until thickened (gravy should have a loose consistency—it will thicken as it cools), about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the chicken-fried steaks to individual plates. Spoon a generous amount of gravy over each steak. Serve immediately, placing any remaining gravy in a small bowl.
Download a printable recipe here.