Growing up in California, chicken fried steak was not a common meal. I think the only time I ever had it was at the school cafeteria, and I'm sure it was poor quality at best. It was definitely not something we had at home. I think I was in my twenties before I even realized that it was steak and not chicken.
After I moved to Texas, I learned that not only did people really eat chicken fried steak, they made at home, they ordered it in restaurants, and they took it VERY seriously. There is no quicker way to show your Yankee background than (a) thinking chicken fried steak was chicken or (b) calling it "Country Fried Steak." Now that we are in Maryland, JD complains that it is nearly impossible to find good chicken fried steak anywhere. The last time he ordered it in a restaurant they served it with brown gravy (horror!) and mushrooms (sacrilege!) and it was actually chicken (say it ain't so!).
So after I found the Homesick Texan blog, I knew I would have to at least attempt to make this for my sweetie. I was hesitant, though, because frying is not one of my strengths in the kitchen. But it actually turned out really good! JD was impressed and even I thought it was tasty. Not something I would make regularly...way too messy and my house still smells of grease...but nice for the occasional meal. JD loves unleashing his inner redneck every now and then.
Chicken Fried Steak
adapted from Homesick Texan
1 1/2 pounds top round steak
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons drippings
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
Add enough vegetable oil to skillet to reach halfway up the sides. Heat over medium heat. Line an ovenrproof plate with paper towels and put into a 200 degree oven.
Cut steak into 4 equal sized pieces. Pound with meat mallet (the spiky side) until flattened. Or, like me, you can find the steaks already tenderized (usually called "cube steak") at the store.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in large bowl. Beat eggs with milk in another large bowl. Carefully dip steak into seasoned flour, then the egg/milk mixture, then the flour again. Carefully add to the hot oil.
After about 3-4 minutes, there should be some blood seeping through the top of the steak. Using tongs, carefully turn the steak over. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, until crispy and brown. Remove and keep in 200 degree oven while you make the other steaks and the gravy.
In skillet, combine 2 tablespoons drippings and 2 tablespoons flour. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until a nice dark brown. You are making a roux...the idea is to get rid of the raw flour taste and toast it enough to give it a nice flavor, but be careful not to burn it or your gravy will be gross.
Still stirring, gradually add the milk, whisking to remove any lumps. Once all the milk is added, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chicken fried steak with gravy and mashed potatoes.
(I apologize for the dark photo; my camera battery died so I had to take this using my iPhone)