Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

My mom is one of the best cooks I know. Everything she makes is delicious and her Chicken Fried Steak is definitely no exception. I will never order it anywhere else because I have never tasted one that compared to hers. While we were up in Greer I convinced her to let me take pictures of her making it so I could remember it and share it with all of you - you can thank me later.


You start with cube steak which is already tenderized, or you can get round steak and have it tenderized at the meat counter - if you get round steak, ask them to tenderize it twice.

When she starts to prepare them, she first cuts them down in size - usually in half - since they will get larger as you work with them.


Lay them out on a board and season them with salt, pepper and garlic salt - pretty simple!


Don't forget to flip them and get the other side!


Next up you'll want to crack some eggs in a shallow dish and beat them together well with some milk (about 1 Tbsp. per egg)


Also get some saltine crackers


Put them in a plastic bag


And smash them up nicely with a rolling pin (we couldn't find one in the cabin so we just used a cup and it worked fine)


Once the crackers are crushed, place them in another shallow dish (a cake pan works well).You'll want the crackers crushed well but not too fine like bread crumbs the bigger pieces give the steak a good crunch... like this:


Once the steaks are all seasoned and your crackers and eggs are all set up - you're ready to start dipping. Mom uses a fork to dip each steak, both sides, in the egg mixture


Move the steak around a bit in the egg to ensure it gets a nice coat


Then put the steak in the cracker crumbs. Use your fork to press the steak into the crumbs so they stick well


Flip it over and cover the other side


Once you have a nice coating of crumbs on both sides like this:


You'll want to use the back end of a cup (or your fist) to really pound the crackers into the meat.


This is another really important step - you really pound both sides into the crackers - this flattens out the steak and gets the cracker crumbs deeply embedded into the steak, the texture just isn't the same if you don't do it.


Once the steak is about twice it's original size, you can start laying them out on a cookie sheet until you've gotten them all covered with egg and crackers.


Heat some oil in a skillet (mom prefers cast iron) and let it get nice and warm before you add the steaks. Cook them 1-2 at a time


Until each side is nice and golden brown


It's nice to have another cookie sheet prepared to place the finished steaks on


Once a few are done you can just pop them into a warm oven to keep them nice and toasty until you can finish cooking them all and make the gravy.


Gravy?! Yes, gravy... you can't make Chicken Fried Steak without gravy. When you're done cooking the steaks, keep the oil and crispy cracker crumbs in the pan.


add about 3 heaping Tbsp. flour


whisk it together with the warm oil to make a rue. Let the oil heat back up and get thick and bubbly. Letting it cook for a minute allows the flour flavor to cook out so you don't end up with flour tasting gravy.


Once the rue has heated, blended and thickened up for a bit, add about 1 heaping Tbsp. bullion (mom uses chicken) and whisk it in.


Next, you'll add a few cups of milk (mom ended up using about 1/2 gallon to make gravy in the two cast iron skillets she was using). Once again, whisk it together well, and cook it on medium heat until it thickens. It's best to start out with a little less milk than you think you'll need because you can always add a little more to thin it out if it becomes too thick. If it does end up a little runny just let it cook longer and it should thicken up a bit.


Add salt and pepper to taste, though it won't need much salt since you already added bullion.


And that's it! Now just serve with mashed potatoes and veggies and let your husband and kids thank you by doing the dishes :)


*Mom's tips:

Most packages contain two steaks which you will cut in half making four steaks. I make one for each person plus a few extra for bigger eaters and leftovers.

I cooked this meal for 11 and it took 1 box of saltines and about 4 eggs to cover all the steaks.

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