by Cat, July 2009 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
See also (other sites) Weinerschnitzel (video and recipe (3))
When I was a kid growing up in Montana, my family took a summer road trip vacation every year. My favorite on-the-road dinner was chicken fried steak (with cream gravy, of course), or deep-fried prawns. When I became a young adult, I eschewed all fried food in favor of stir fries (mainly because lard used for frying had been given a bad name so vegetable oils were used instead, which are not meant for cooking).
But now, as a mature adult, I’ve resumed my love of fried foods, provided the right fat is used. No manufactured or GMO fats for me. I want real lard (not hydrogenated), coconut or palm oil. (See Rendering Lard for method).
My Dad loved to make chicken fried steak, mostly because he loved the cream gravy. He always made extra so he could have some on toast in the morning. Which, of course, irritated my Mom. “Bill, why the hell do you save cream gravies that are not worth saving, but you throw away the rich dark gravy from a nice roast?” Well, I have to agree with Mom but I can also appreciate Dad’s love of cream gravy.
Since I don’t have the family recipe for chicken fried steak, I’m trying several recipes from the Southern Food website.
Chicken Fried Steak
This recipe is adapted from Country Fried Steak with Sweet Onion Gravy (1) and Country Fried Steak with Cream Gravy (2), from Southern Food website. I’ve adapted the recipe to serve 2.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 12 oz cubed steak, or thin round steak
- filtered water
- ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
- 1 tsp vinegar
- Chicken Fry:
- about ¼ cup lard, bacon fat, or coconut oil (use palm oil only if sustainably grown/harvested)
- ½ cup unbleached white flour, divided
- 2 Tbsp Organic cornmeal (or Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal)
- ¾ tsp Unrefined sea salt
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 large egg
- ½ large sweet onion, chopped
- 3 – 4 button mushrooms, sliced or chopped (optional)
- 2 Tbsp butter, divided
- 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour
- ¾ – 1 cup milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cast iron skillet
- 3 shallow bowls
- Prep: If using bacon fat: cut up 4 strips of bacon into small sections, then cook until all the fat has been rendered. If less than ¼ cup, add lard to make up the difference, for the Chicken Fry. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside (for use in gravy).
- If using round steak, pound on both sides, to tenderize. Not necessary if using cubed steak.
- Place in bowl or baking dish; cover with water; add salt and vinegar, and marinate 2 hours in refrigerator.
- Onion, etc. Chop onion and slice/chop mushrooms (if using);
- Cook in 1 Tbsp butter in skillet over low heat, until very soft and golden, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
- Chicken-fry: Melt lard/palm oil in skillet over medium heat, ¼ cup or more (depending on size of skillet); continue to heat until oil reaches 350°F.
- Meanwhile, put ¼ cup flour in shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl mix ¼ cup flour, 2 Tbsp cornmeal, salt and paprika. In third bowl, beat egg with 1 Tbsp milk.
- Dredge prepared steak in flour, dip in egg mixture, then dredge in flour-cornmeal mixture.
- Place dredged steaks in hot oil (in batches if necessary to avoid crowding) and cook for about 1 – 5 minutes on each side, or until light brown. Remove steaks to platter with paper towel to absorb excess fat, cover with foil or a lid, and keep warm.
- Gravy: Pour off fat, reserving browned bits; add 1 Tbsp butter and cooked onions & mushrooms, stirring until butter has melted. Add flour and stir until smooth. Continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add reserved, cooked bacon pieces, if desired.
- Add milk gradually, stirring constantly and continue cooking until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve gravy over steak and mashed potatoes, and garnish with sprigs of parsley. Accompany with braised greens or green beans.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Serve with mashed potatoes, a nice salad of greens with avocado and tomatoes, and a dark green veggie, braised
7/27/09: Prepared as written using palm oil for the frying, and Walla Walla sweets in country gravy. The steaks lost a fair amount of blood to the vinegar water soak, but this didn’t affect the flavor. However, I misread the recipe for fat temperature as 300 degrees instead of 350, so the steaks took longer to get that golden color. Result: Tender, with wonderful flavor, but I needed to add salt to the steaks at the table, which is OK.
9/6/14 (Labor Day): Prepared as written using 6 oz cubed steak, cut in half so could cook in my small cast iron skillet; halved ingredients in flour and egg mixes, and full amount of coconut oil (thought about using bacon but didn’t have any thawed). Oops, forgot to add paprika and salt to flour/cornmeal mix, so seasoned steaks after coating. For gravy, used ¼ sweet onion, 3 small button mushrooms ½cup milk, and 1 Tbsp each butter and flour to make a roux. Result: Excellent; tender and tasty. Didn’t need more salt.
- Country-Fried Steak with Sweet Onion Gravy (southernfood.about.com/od/friedsteakrecipe/r/bl10610b.htm)
- Country-Fried Steak with Cream Gravvy (southernfood.about.com/od/friedsteakrecipe/r/bl80222c.htm)
- Weinerschnitzel (video and recipe) (vikingrivercruises.com/email/Wienerschnitzel.aspx