Chicken Fried Steak

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It’s been awhile since we fried anything and even longer since we bought a random kitchen utensil to use for the making of a post. This recipe accomplished both! When Nathan suggested we make chicken fried steak this weekend I was on board because I had never tried it before and I was intrigued by the ironic name.

Chicken fried steak has a somewhat murky lineage (it is most likely a descendant of Wiener Schnitzel) but it’s quite clear that it is indigenous primarily to the southern USA. VA and MD, where Nathan and I grew up (respectively), are way too far north and east to be included in what some refer to as the Chicken-Fried Steak Belt (which is localized primarily to Texas.) Chicken fried steak is essentially beef bottom round, tenderized to a pulp (we bought a meat tenderizing mallet…fun kitchen utensil!), breaded in a seasoned flour mixture, and pan-fried…oh, and then smothered in gravy and, usually, served next to a big pile of mashed potatoes.

No, it’s not going to win any healthy food awards but I’m pretty sure this is what people are talking about when they say things like “Good Home Cookin’” and “Southern Comfort.” If you’re not from Texas do yourself a favor and try this southern staple!

Chicken Fried Steak-026 Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Castle Rock, 2011 Pinot Noir
Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

Meh, unfortunately this was was just OK…or as Nathan said mediocre. Not bad by any means but not great. Never what we’re looking for in our wine pairings! I read some reviews and I learned that 2011 was a tough year for Pinot Noirs in CA? Apparently other years this wine has been great! I could pick up flavors of berry, vanilla, spice and oak but it overall was somewhat thin and watered down tasting. It really didn’t do too much for our entree positively or negatively. Ah well…can’t win them all!

Chicken Fried Steak-027 Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Brewer’s Art Green Peppercorn Tripel
Rating 9.0 out of 10.0

It has been too long since I have had a great Belgian style Tripel… Not only is this an awesome Tripel it was also the perfect pairing for our Chicken Fried Steak! Initially, the beer greets you with a nice golden hue and aromas of spicy pepper, fruity, and ester smells. The beer is highly carbonated (As in, we popped the cork and the bottle immediately foamed over… I wouldn’t expect that from a brewery named ‘Brewer’s Art’) but I actually like that in a really strong beer like this tripel. The carbonation accentuates the pepper flavors and balance the rich malt, fruity, and ester flavors. The pepper and carbonation cut through the rich flavors of the fried steak while the rich malt and alcohol content compliment the rich flavors of the dish.

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Country Fried Steak

Adapted from this recipe and this recipe

Ingredients:

For the Chicken Fried Steak

2 pounds beef bottom round, trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. seasoned salt
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs. butter

For the gravy:

1 cup chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Cut the meat with the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season each piece on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the flour, paprika, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper into a pie pan. Place the eggs and ¼ cup milk into a separate pie pan. Dredge the meat on both sides in the flour. Tenderize the meat, using a meat tenderizing mallet, until each slice is 1/4-inch thick. Take out some aggression on that meat!! Once tenderized, dredge the meat again in the flour, followed by the egg and finally in the flour again. Repeat with all the pieces of meat. Place the meat onto a plate and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.

3. Place enough of the vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a 12-inch slope-sided skillet and set over medium heat. When oil is hot, 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. Add the meat in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (we cooked these one at a time!) Cook each piece on both sides until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove the steaks to a wire rack set in a half sheet pan and place into the oven. Repeat until all of the meat is browned.

4. Add the remaining vegetable oil, or at least 1 tablespoon, to the pan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the flour left over from the dredging and the garlic. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add the milk and thyme and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste, with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the gravy over the steaks.

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