Thursday, March 10, 2011
Chicken Fried Steak
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...In some areas of the country, chicken fried steak is the queen of comfort food. Not surprisingly, the dish gets its name because it is prepared in the same manner as Southern fried chicken. While the origins of the dish are muddy, and claims of ownership are disputed, it's logical to conclude the dish was brought to the United States by Austrian immigrants, who then popularized it in the Southern and Western United States. The dish is quite similar to wiener schnitzel, a breaded and fried veal cutlet that comes from Vienna, Austria. There are, however, differences between the two. Chicken fried steak is made from tenderized beef rather than veal and its coated with seasoned flour rather than bread crumbs. The steak is pan-fried and its drippings form the base for a light gravy that is made with a well-seasoned chicken stock or milk. If you are interested, more background about this dish and its preparation can be found here. This is one of those delicious entrées that makes no pretense of being healthy or good for you. It rarely appears on my table, but when it does we thoroughly enjoy it. As an aside, I must tell you I have a friend from Kobe who insists that chicken fried steak is a copy of a Japanese creation called tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet and more information about it can be found here. It seems that breaded cutlets have joined the ranks of other foods, such as noodles and pancakes, that have spontaneously appeared on tables all over the world. While I love the thought of spontaneous generation, I suspect that these foods were carried by brave seamen and adventurers whom we should thank for the wonderful diversity on our tables. Here's my favorite recipe for Chicken Fried Steak.
Chicken Fried Steak...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Alton Brown
2 pounds beef bottom round, trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 whole eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2) Cut meat with grain into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season each piece on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour into a pie pan. Place eggs into a separate pie pan. Dredge meat on both sides in flour. Tenderize meat, using a jaccard type tenderizer, until each slice is 1/4-inch thick. Once tenderized, dredge meat again in flour, followed by egg and finally in flour again. Repeat with all pieces of meat. Place meat onto a plate and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.
3) Use enough vegetable oil to cover bottom of a 12-inch skillet and set over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add meat in batches, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook each piece on both sides until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove steaks to a wire rack set in a baking pan and place in oven. Repeat until all meat is browned.
4) Add remaining vegetable oil, or at least 1 tablespoon, to skillet. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour left over from dredging. Add chicken broth and whisk until gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add milk and thyme and whisk until gravy coats a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the gravy over steaks. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Chicken Fried Steak - The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Chicken Fried Steak - Amanda's Cookin'
Chicken Fried Flank Steak with Country Gravy - Chewing the Fat
Chicken Fried Steak - Carrie's Sweet Life
Country Fried Steak - Never Enough Thyme
Memories of Texas: Chicken Fried Steak at Massey's - Detroit Eats
Chicken Fried Steak - Seriously Good
Chicken Fried Steak - Cooking By the Seat of My Pants
Country Fried Steak with Brown Gravy - Eclectic Recipes
Chicken Fried Steak - Comfort Foodie
Fat Tommy's Chicken Fried Steak - The Daily Meal
Chicken Fried Chicken - Carrie's Kitchen