18 August 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

I've heard of chicken fried steak before. And even before I moved south of the Mason Dixon line I saw it on a few menus. Very few. But they were there. And you know what? For the longest time I never really knew what it was. Obviously something fried...but was it chicken, or was it steak? I never knew and I never asked. I guess I was never that interested.

Over the years (not that long ago), I eventually figured it out, but still...I never really cared.

Really...who cares? Chicken Fried Steak...ppffft....whateves.

Until one evening, while I was probably laying on the couch, belly full from dinner, watching Good Eats. Cause that's what I do. I eat, and then I watch shows about food. And then I think about food, or I read about food. I've even been known to have a belly ache, and still look at food.

Anywho. Good Eats, you know, the food network show with Alton Brown. There's always mixed reviews on this one. Love it or hate it (I love it), you gotta see it. Imagine Mr. Wizard and Julia Child had an illegitimate child in a school cafeteria. No. Wait. Don't imagine that. But if you did, that's what it would be like. Oh...add in a little pop-up video. That's better.

So one day Alton's there cookin' up some grub, telling me all sorts of useful information and what do you know he's making - you guessed it, Chicken Fried Steak. And while it didn't look all that exciting, it sort of looked good. In that 'all the food on my plate is brown and gray' sort of way. That moment was the first time I had ever wanted to try a Chicken Fried Steak. Whatever it was. It wasn't that I didn't want to try it, I just never thought about it.

So I coated it up, fried it up, baked it up, sauced it up, and ate it. The verdict: not too shabby. The cube steak I used was a tad on the fatty side, so I could have improved there. Oh! This dish definitely needs some vegetable sides, don't skimp on that. I served it with some garlic roasted brussel sprouts and some whole kernel corn.

Would I eat this again? Sure. While it tasted good, and what I would expect a cheap steak covered in flour would taste like, I probably won't be making it for a while. Although not on top of the culinary food chain (or my 'to try' list)...at least I can say I've had it.

I don't mean to discourage you. By all means, if you like this sort of thing, go for it. I just don't think it's my cup of tea slice of beef.

Chicken Fried Steak
Printable Recipe
by Kacey's Kitchen, adapted from Alton Brown, Good Eats
  • 4 cube steaks
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Season each steak on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour into a dish. Place the eggs into a separate dish. Dredge the meat on both sides in the flour.
  3. Tenderize the meat, using a needling device (or fork). Once tenderized, dredge the meat again in the flour, followed by the egg and finally in the flour again.
  4. Repeat with all the pieces of meat. Place the meat onto a plate and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.
  5. Place enough of the vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a 12-inch slope-sided skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the meat in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  6. Cook each piece on both sides until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks to a wire rack set in a half sheet pan and place into the oven. Repeat until all of the meat is browned.
  7. Add the remaining vegetable oil, or at least 1 tablespoon, to the pan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the flour left over from the dredging.
  8. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken.
  9. Add the milk and thyme and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Season to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the gravy over the steaks.

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