Cookin’ With Rants: Chicken Fried Steak
Over the Presidents’ Day Weekend, I had the opportunity to visit my Mom. As she normally does, she petitions me for a roster of meals that I want to eat and that she’ll prepare. This question always leaves me in a quandry, with all of the possible Mom Meals out there I could choose from, I have to pick between onlytwo and four. Depending on how long I visit.
So the one meal I had to choose this trip was Chicken Fried Steak. With pan gravy, of course. Naturally, I ate enough of this to hardly be able to walk. But I cleaned up the kitchen for Mama nonetheless. Anyway, I figured you all would love to know how to make this classic comfort food. This is one you really ought to have a cast iron skillet for, but lesser pans could be used.
First, you need some sirloin or chuck, cut thicker but tenderized to about 1/2″ thick. They can be soaked in buttermilk if you like. Prepare a pie pan with flour, salt, and pepper. This will bread the meat. In the cast iron (or other, lesser skillet) melt 3/4 cup of Crisco. Yeah, this isn’t healthy, and you know what comes next for a recommend… you can add bacon grease to this for awesomeness. While this melts and heats, find an old jar and mix a cup of milk and a cup of flour. Lid the jar and shake this mixture violently while you prepare the meat. Seriously, shake this shit like a disco queen, because your goal is to remove the flour lumps.
When the Crisco is hot enough to make water dance, begin coating the beef with the flour mix. Push this happy shit well into the meat. I recommend having one skillet-full ready and breaded. Adding them at once will quickly lower the oil temp and allow the coating to stick better. Continue to fry, but try to only turn the meat once. When dark brown on both sides, remove and salt, allowing to drain on paper towels or a paper grocery sack. Your heart will thank you later in the Managed Care Facility.
When all the meat is fried, drain excess grease but retain all the black and brown fried-up bits in the skillet. Pour in up to two whole cups of milk and allow to warm. Then add the well-shaken jar of milk and flour mix. Stir constantly until thick on a high flame, and don’t look away – this can go from awesome to fucked in about three seconds. You can add salt and pepper to taste to this.
I prefer this with buttermilk biscuits and a side of something Southern, like green beans, mustard greens, or similar. You can substitute mashed potatoes for the biscuits, or grits if you feel really, really redneck.