Citizens, sometimes all a person craves is a vegetal, delicious and healthy bit of lightly-dressed kale.
This is not one of those times.
We want BEEF. FRIED BEEF. FRIED PEPPERY BEEF. FRIED PEPPERY BEEF SMOTHERED IN CREAM GRAVY! FRIED PEPPERY BEEF SMOTHERED IN CREAM GRAVY COOKED IN LARD!!!
Still with me? Good. The Vegans and health nuts have left the building, now it’s just us carnivores and Epicureans who don’t give a damn. 😉 Yes, this recipe is terribly fattening, bad for you and is as artery-clogging as it gets.
Who cares, just eat it occasionally – it’s DELICIOUS! 🙂
Chicken fried steak (also known as country fried steak) is an American breaded cutlet dish consisting of a piece of steak (usually a very cheap cut such as tenderized cube steak) coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is typically associated with the Southern cuisine of the United States.
Chicken fried steak resembles the Austrian dish Wiener Schnitzel and the Italian-South American dish Milanesa, which is a tenderized veal or pork cutlet, coated with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs, and then fried. It is also similar to the recipe for Scottish collops.
The precise origins of the dish are unclear, but many sources attribute its development to German and Austrian immigrants to Texas in the 19th century, who brought recipes for Wiener Schnitzel from Europe to the USA.
Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County on the Texas South Plains, claims to be the birthplace of chicken fried steak, and hosts an annual celebration accordingly.
The Virginia Housewife, published in 1838 by Mary Randolph, has a recipe for veal cutlets that is one of the earliest recipes for a food like chicken fried steak. The recipe for what we now know as chicken fried steak was included in many regional cookbooks by the late 19th century.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest attestation of the term “chicken-fried steak” is from a restaurant advertisement in the 19 June 1914 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper.
A 1943 American cookbook recipe for Wiener Schnitzel includes a white salt and pepper cream gravy.
Chicken fried steak is among numerous popular dishes which make up the official state meal of Oklahoma, added to the list in 1988.
Citizens, my recipe is resolutely traditional, though I exchange cube steak for round, add some 4-peppercorn blend along with black pepper, a bit of thyme for the gravy and using a hint of Chipotle instead of cayenne for added smokiness. I use the traditional lard for frying, you can use vegetable oil if it makes you feel better. 🙂
This will be the finest dish of its type you have ever sampled, Citizens! Postscript: if you don’t yet have a cast iron frying pan, shame on you – buy one before you even think of making this recipe! Like most food, it is best cooked in cast iron, as is most searing, frying and cooking in general!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
For the gravy:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground 4 peppercorn blend
¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper
3 cups whole milk
3 teaspoons dried thyme, rubbed between the palms
For the steak:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground 4-peppercorn blend
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 pound beef round, trimmed of excess fat and cut into ¼ inch slices
¾ cup lard (preferred) or vegetable oil, for frying
Minced parsley for garnish
For the gravy:
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Sprinkle in the flour, measured salt, measured peppers, and chipotle. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture’s dark golden brown and the flour and spices taste toasted, about 6 minutes.
While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk. Bring to a simmer, add thyme and let cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits).
Taste and season with additional salt and black pepper as needed. Keep warm over very low heat while you make the steak.
For the steak:
Place the milk in a shallow dish; set aside. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the flour, measured pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, measured salt, and chipotle; set aside.
Place 1 piece of the beef on a cutting board and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Using the studded side of a meat mallet, pound the steak, flipping to equally pound both sides, until it’s about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a large plate or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of beef.
Dip 1 piece of the beef in the reserved flour mixture, turn to coat, and shake off any excess. Dip in the milk, turn to coat, and dip in the flour mixture a second time, shaking off any excess. Return to the plate or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces.
Heat the lard or oil in a large cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking or 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack over a baking sheet; set aside.
When the oil is ready, fry 2 to 3 pieces of meat (don’t crowd the pan) until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer to the wire rack, season with salt, and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Serve immediately, smothered in the gravy, garnished with minced parsley.