Monday, September 15, 2014

Tamara's Chicken Fried Steak

Reid and I spent the weekend in Abilene, visiting his parents, sister's family, and grandma.  I snatched up the opportunity to learn how to make a good chicken fry and to buy an awesome couch off of Abilene Craigslist.  Yay!  The kitties, Cleo and Alex, were recovering from their recent spays so I couldn't pester them too much.  Did get to check out the Paramount theater for a showing of Indiana Jones and drive around town.  It was a great weekend hanging out with Reid's family.

I really wanted to learn how to make a good chicken fry(ied steak), because it's one of my favorite things to order at southern comfort food restaurant.  Reid has let me know there is good chicken fried steak, and there is bad chicken fried steak.  I really had no reference point because my mom never made chicken fried steak.  Surprise!  I think Luby's has a good chicken fried steak.  Pretty much any place with chicken fried steak on the menu is good to me.   Boy was I wrong!  I learned there is cheap steak, there is batter that is too thick (to double dip, or not to double dip?), or too soft, or too crunchy.  It's these subtleties that outsiders don't pick up on that is really interesting.  The other weekend when we were hanging out with my family, we lamented on a place that put broccoli in their pho.  People from non-Vietnamese backgrounds probably don't think, broccoli in pho, that's just wrong!  But my family was outraged.  So Reid told me that liking chicken fried steak from Luby's is like pho with brocoli in it.  It's just plain wrong if you know what the good stuff should be.

Tamara, my mother-in-law, showed me how it's done.  Of course, like all awesome cooks, Tamara does not measure out anything so this recipe is my approximations from watching her.

Chicken Fried Steak
Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs round steak, tenderized
  • ~4 c. Crisco or vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
Directions
  1. Melt Crisco, or bring oil up to medium-high heat in 10 inch straight-sided frying pan.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of steak.  Cut steaks into sections or steak fingers, depending on preference.
  3. Combine egg, sugar, milk, and 1 tbs each of salt and pepper in medium bowl
  4. Set flour in shallow dish
  5. Dip steak into wash, then flour, then fry steak
  6. Once blood is seen seeping through first side, flip; about 3-5 minutes
  7. Fry until golden brown and cool on paper towel lined plates.
Alternative versions:
Healthier-Pan fry in vegetable oil with no batter (flour only)
Joie's version (Reid's paternal grandma)- Dip in buttermilk, then dredge in flour, then double dip in buttermilk and flour


Country Gravy
Ingredients
  • 1/4 c. reserved pan drippings
  • 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c. milk
Directions
  1. Cook pan drippings and flour on medium heat until flour cooked through or light brown.  Add salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in milk and cook until thickened.  

Egg, flour, fry
Straight from frying
White Gravy

Yum!



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