Chicken Fried Steak
In my opinion there is not a more comforting meal than Chicken Fried Steak...a heaping mound of mashed potatoes, crispy steak, and thick peppery gravy. This is the perfect meal to cook what I believe to be an often overlooked cut, the Round Steak. This particular cut comes from the back leg, and as such can be tough but it has an immense amount of flavor. When handled properly it will reward you with a meal you will be craving for days afterwards. To tenderize this cut you must aggressively pound the steak with a mallet. If you want to skip the process of tenderizing your own Round Steak, just purchase Cubed Steak (it is Round Steak that is already tenderized) for this recipe. I also like to use panko breadcrumbs for this dish to add an additional level of crunch to the exterior of the steak. Give it a try, and I promise you will be making it again in the near future.
Preparing The Meal
Begin by creating your breading station. In a shallow bowl combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, and one teaspoon each of salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl whisk together the milk and eggs. In a third bowl add your panko breadcrumbs.
Before you bread your steaks, preheat your oven to 225℉. Next, heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. You want the oil to be about a ¼” deep in the pan. You can test the oil by dropping a small piece of the breading into it. You want the oil to sizzle and bubble around the breading (look for the oil to be glistening but not smoking, about 330℉)
Set the cubed steak on a plate and pat dry on all sides with a paper towel. Dredge each steak in the flour mixture, making sure to shake off the excess flour. Next dredge the steak in the egg mixture. Finally, dredge the steaks in the panko breadcrumbs, making sure to evenly coat the entire outside.
Fry the steaks two at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes on one side, until golden brown. Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the steaks from the pan and set on a wire rack set over paper towels. Repeat with the remaining to steaks. When all the steaks are cooked, place in the preheated oven to stay warm.
For the gravy, begin by pouring the remaining oil from the pan into a heat safe container (such as a glass measuring cup). Place the pan back on the heat, and add your bacon grease or butter. Once it is melted, whisk in the flour. Whisk continuously for several minutes until golden brown. Slowly add your milk, whisking constantly. Add the soy sauce and continue whisking, bringing the gravy to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the gravy has a nice smooth consistency. If the gravy becomes too thick, add a small amount of milk to thin it out to an appropriate consistency. Season with salt and pepper. You will likely not need much salt, but I would recommend adding a very generous amount of pepper.
To serve, remove our steaks from the oven and place on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans. Pour a generous amount of gravy over the top of your steak and mashed potatoes.
4 Cube Steaks (about 1/3 lb each)
1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ground Pepper, Divided
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt, Divided
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 ½ Cups Milk
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Tablespoons Butter or Bacon Fat
4 Tablespoon Flour
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, To Taste