Chicken Fried Steak

Monday, May 04, 2009 | |

Sometimes, you just cant get the real thing in New York. When it comes to Southern home cooking, New York is lacking in a solid place that serves a consistently satisfying meal. After a disappointing bout with Jambalaya, I had an even more disappointing Chicken Fried Steak at Marlow & Sons this past weekend. It was soggy, served with salad, and not only was there no gravy (gasp!) but when I asked for some, I was told there was a lot of butter on the steak.

I used to go back to Houston for the holidays and my mom and I would have a special meal The Black Eyed Pea. Now this local Texas franchise we rarely frequented growing up but as a college student my mom would take me there for one thing and one thing only...the best chicken fried steak in our 'hood. Now I've had my fair share of CFS...Thursdays at Clear Lake High School was CFS day. You'd get it served smothered with gravy and with some corn, mashed potatoes, and a roll on the side. Cracker Barrel is also a good option if you're not in Texas. In New York, Chat N' Chew's CFS can hold you over until you cross the Mason-Dixon line. But theres always something missing. My answer is just to make it yourself...this might have to be my weekend project.

Chicken Fried Steak

* 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
* 1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
* 4 (4-ounce) cube steaks
* 38 saltine crackers (1 sleeve), crushed
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 4 3/4 cups milk, divided
* 2 large eggs
* 3 1/2 cups peanut oil
* Garnish: chopped fresh parsley


Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over steaks. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and baking powder. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in cracker mixture.

Pour oil into a 12-inch skillet; heat to 360°. (Do not use a nonstick skillet.) Fry steaks 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove steaks to a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Keep steaks warm in a 225° oven. Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

Whisk together remaining 4 cups milk, 1/4 cup flour, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add milk mixture to reserved drippings in skillet; cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Serve gravy with steaks. Garnish, if desired.

From Southern Living, JANUARY 2006