Okay, now that I have totally tempted any of my health-conscious or diabetic readers by reminding them that there are such delicious foods as fried chicken left in this world…or even grossed out my vegan readers by suggesting that they eat chicken in the first place…remember that my goal right now is to walk you through the different cooking methods one at a time.
We have already finished looking at two methods—sauteeing and stir-frying.
Now we are talking about pan-frying.
And the best two examples of pan-fried food are fried chiciken and…
Chicken Fried Steak
So these are the two “homework assignments”that will help you learn to cortrectly pan-fry your food…regardless what it is—anything from chicken to tofu, from pork chops to tempeh.
So what is chicken fried steak…other than a fried piece of meat that most of us shouldn’t be eating in the first place?
Chiciken fried steak actually contains no chicken…but chicken fried steak is xalled “chicken fried steak” because the cooking method is so similar to the way you make fried chicken.
Instead of chicken, chicken fried steak is typically some sort of cutlet—typically tenderized cube steak, chuck, round steak, and occasionally flank steak—that has been coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried, just like we did fried chicken in the last post.
Here in Texas, chicken fried steak can be found on almost any menu—including the breakfast menu, the lunch menu, and the dinner menu.
It has been a state favorite ever since being brought to the Lone Star State by German and Austrian immigrants during the 19th century.
Chicken fried steakis very similar to what is known as “”country fried steak,” but typically “country fried steak” is covered with a brown gravy, and “chicken fried steak” is covered with a white, peppery gravy.
So what are the steps in making the perfect Chicken Fried Steak?
1.Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.This is important because once the first piece of chicken fried steak is cooked, there will be more steaks to cookm and you want to make sure that the steaks you’ver already cooked stay warm while you finish.
2. Prep the pan…Choose a good heavy pan, such as a cast iron 9” skillet, to fry your steaks in. Pour enough oil in the pan so that the oil is at least ¼” deep, not much more than that. Heat the oil over medium heat on the stovetop until the oil starta to glisten and shimmer on the surface.
3. Prep the meat before you bread it…Whenever I make chicken fried steak, I typically cook about 2# at one time…Regardless of how many steaks you will be cooking, it is always important to dry the meat before you bread it. Otherwise, the breading will simply fall off the meat because the meat will begin to /steam, not fry. Remove the meat from the package. Use several layers of paper towels to pay the meat as dry as possible.. Sprinkle the steaks well with kosher salt and set aside.
4. Set Up the Breading Station…Find three dishes that are large enough for turning your meat pieces around as you bread them. Fill the first dish with plain flour – nothing else. Fill the second dish with two large eggs combined with ½C milk. Fill the third dish with flour, corn meal and seasonings—such as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, and dried parsley.
Seasoning your food well is important because the meat has to go through so much before the flavor ever gets on your tastebuds….Just add the ingredients and mix it up and then make that the final dip for your steak.
5. Apply the Breading…’Do NOT bread your meat until you’e ready to put it in the hot oil.
Once the oil is hot and ready, pat the steaks one last time with paper towels.
Dip the first steak into the three different dishes, in the order that they should be arranged in—plain flour, egg and milk mixture, seasoned flour. Pat the flour onto the steak well.
Do not bread up more steaks than you can cook right now.
6. Add the Meat to the Heated Skillet…Gently place the floured steak into the oil. You should hear a sizzling sound if your oil has been properly heated.
Do NOT overcrowd the pan. Never cook more than two steaks in the same pan at the same time. The steak should cover no more than a fourth of the pan. The other fourth should be simply oil.
Make sure that the oil stays at the right temperature once you add each steak…and throughout the cooking proicess.
7. Cook the Meat…Cook the steaks to cook about three minutes per side,. Once cooked, transfer to a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. Do not stack steaks on top of each other. This will mess up your breading.
8. Make the Gravy…After you finish cooking all of your steaks, turn off the oven so that they will not burn while you are making your gravy.
Pour off the grease from the pan that you cooked your steaks in, leaving any little bits of steak and perhaps a few tablespoons of grease in the pan.
Add 2Tbsp flour to the pan. Cook on the stovetop over medium-high heat two minutes. Cooking the flour by itself for a minute or so will take that dry flour taste out.
Add 3C milk to the pan. Constantly stir the milk using a wooden spoon, scraping any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan as you do so.
Once the gravy starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Keep cooking and stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.