I have been on a quest to find a tasty chicken fried steak recipe but have been unable to find one that Michael and I both like. Neither of us are fans of the white, wallpaper paste, country gravy. A few weeks ago I tweaked several recipes and combined the best of each into my own creation. Tonight I made it for the second time and it was really good so I decided to post the recipe.
- 2 - 4 beef cube steaks, tenderized
- ¼ cup vegetable oil for frying
Coating for the steaks:
- 16 saltine crackers, crushed, but not pulverized
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 egg beaten lightly
- 1 cup milk
For the Gravy:
- Pan drippings
- ½ stick butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
- ⅛ tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 TBS Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees to keep steaks warm until time to serve. Place saltines in a baggie and smack with a rolling pin until they are crumbled but not powdery. You want some small bits left. Place in a shallow pan. Add flour, salt, pepper, paprika and mix well. Set aside. In another shallow bowl beat one egg and add the milk. Set aside.
Add oil to frying pan or dutch oven and heat to medium. Dip the steaks into the egg mixture then press each side into the coating mix. Repeat by dipping again into the egg then the coating. Gently move steaks to a plate being careful not to disturb coating. When the oil is medium heat, add the steaks to the pan. If the pan is too hot they will burn, so turn the temp down if they begin to brown too fast. The key to keeping the breading in place is to cook the steaks on one side, then flip only once to the opposite side. They will cook fairly fast, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and place on cookie sheet in preheated oven to keep warm.
You can pour off any oil from the pan in excess of about 2 tablespoons making sure not to lose any of the browned bits. That is what will flavor your gravy. To make the gravy, melt the butter in the pan with drippings. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the flour and stir for about two minutes on low heat. You want to cook the flour but not brown it. This is the roux that will thicken the gravy. To the roux, slowly add the milk a little at a time whisking continuously. It should thicken and smooth out. Add the half and half and the Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco, Kitchen Bouquet, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring with the whisk until the gravy is thick and smooth. Make sure you taste it at this point. If it needs more seasoning add it now.
Serve immediately over the warm steaks with homemade mashed potatoes. I made red potatoes, mashed with the skins on, and served a side of cooked carrots. Dee-lish!