Down Home Issue
Chicken Fried Steak
For the Steak:
3 pounds cubed steak
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1½ cups whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
For the Gravy:
½ cup pan drippings
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pound the steak with a mallet to tenderize it.
Combine the flour, black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and onion powder in a wide, shallow bowl. In another, mix the milk with the eggs. Work with one piece of meat at a time. Dip each steak in flour mixture to coat both sides, and shake off excess. Place the meat into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Finally, place it back in the flour and turn to coat, using your fingers to gently work the flour into the surface of the steak. Place the breaded meat on a clean plate, then repeat with the remaining meat.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. When the butter sizzles immediately, you know it’s ready.
Cook the meat, 2 to 3 pieces at a time, until the crust is golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat to drain on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm by covering lightly with another plate or a sheet of foil. Repeat until all the remaining meat is cooked, adding up to ¼ cup more oil, as needed.
After all the steaks are fried, pour off the pan drippings into a heat-proof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup of the drippings back to the skillet and allow the grease to heat up.
When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour with the grease, scraping the bottom of the pan, stirring continuously for a minute or two to form a roux. Keep cooking, stirring frequently, until the roux reaches a deep golden-brown color.
Lower the heat and slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking, until the gravy thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. (If gravy is too thick, you can thin it by adding more milk.)