One of the single most popular items in American-style restaurants in my neck of the woods is Chicken-Fried Steak. This consists of a cube steak or bottom round, needled, tenderized, and pounded thin, soaked in buttermilk, then double-breaded and deep fried. It’s usually then served smothered with peppered sausage gravy. This can be a breakfast, lunch, or dinner item, depending on the accoutrements on the plate.
A couple of eggs over easy and some hash browns on the side and I’m in heaven. If you’re like me it sounds great in theory, but feels like crap an hour or two later. I’ve toyed around in my home kitchen and come up with a much lighter version. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 lbs cube steak (3-4 cuts from most butchers)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 cup AP flour
1 cup 2% milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Place the cube steaks in any type of container and cover with milk. This step begins to tenderize the meat slightly by breaking down some of the connective tissue.
While the meat is soaking (10-15 minutes tops), combine flour, salt, and pepper on a shallow container. I use pie tins for dredging like this.
Remove steaks from the milk, allow the excess to drain off for a moment or two, and then coat with seasoned flour. Shake off the excess and set aside on a plate. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This makes the light breading adhere to your steaks better.
While your steaks are resting… warm oil over medium heat in a shallow saute pan, 10-12 inches in diameter, on the stove.
Place your steaks in the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from oil, drain, and serve.
I substitute the moisture in the dish, usually added by a liberal helping of sausage gravy, by cooking eggs over easy and serving them on top of the steaks. The broken yolks provide the moisture and balance that the steaks demand, and provide a pretty luxurious mouth feel, if I do say so myself.
If you have little kids like I do, and they don’t want runny eggs, scramble some eggs and serve them on the side. My kids cover the steaks in ketchup (gross!).
Keep plenty of salt and pepper on the table, and I’d recommend some hot sauce as well. Chalula or Tapatio are my favs.
Enjoy, and I’ll see you in the comments!