Chicken Fried Steak


When I gave you a recipe for beef satay a few weeks ago, I left out the last ingredient and step. No, not on purpose, and judging by the e-mails and remarks from people I’ve run into while out and about, it appears it wasn’t an “end-of-the-world-never-making-that-dish-again” omission. In actuality, you don’t really need that ingredient anyway, especially since it is not an edible ingredient.

It was the skewers I had forgotten. It was kind of cool getting that many responses because it always blows me away how many of you read my articles. Just don’t forget to soak the skewers for at least half an hour before adding the satay, so they won’t burn while grilling.

OK, since I’m on the beef topic, I’ve been thinking about chicken fried steak for a while now and when I asked Daniel what he had to eat before the Shane McConkey film, he said he had chicken fried steak. I took it as an omen that this was the week. I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve made it and I just couldn’t remember if I liked it better breaded or with just flour, so I made both just to be sure.

It was nearly a tossup, but I think the flour-egg-flour wins out by just the slightest of margins. Of course, that’s just me, but if you like breaded then by all means use the flour-egg-breadcrumb method. When using breadcrumbs, I do use a ground stuffing mix like Stove Top instead of plain breadcrumbs to add flavor, so maybe cut the spices in the flour mix by one-third to a half. Another step I do for this dish is to use the tenderizer with the little spikes and pound the beef on both sides instead of just one side. If you are using a high end cut of beef, that won’t be necessary, but since either top or bottom round is the general cut used, this will really make your steak melt-in-your-mouth tender. One last suggestion: if you have gravy leftover and you’re wondering what to do with it, add a little milk or half and half and slowly heat it up. Once it is warm, melt some cheese in it and use that to top off your broccoli or cauliflower or even use it as a base for your mac and cheese.

Chicken Fried Steak
For 4-6 portions

2 lbs. London broil, cut into pieces ½-inch thick & pounded on both sides to ¼-inch thick
2 eggs, beaten with 1/3 C milk
1 C flour
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T paprika
1 T thyme
1 T granulated garlic
½ C vegetable oil

¼ yellow onion, diced
2 T butter
3 T flour mix from above
1 C chicken stock
1 C half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Turn the oven on to 250 degrees and place a wire rack on a half sheet pan. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add all the herbs and spices into the flour and mix well. Dredge the beef in the flour mix followed by the egg and milk mix and the back into the flour to well coat. Set on a tray while you coat the rest, but don’t overlap them.

After the meat is coated, place a large skillet on the stove and use enough oil to just cover the bottom. Heat the oil on medium high until hot and cook off the steaks a few at a time without over crowding the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until golden before flipping and repeating for the second side. Once golden on both sides, place on the rack. Watch the oil temperature so it doesn’t get to hot between batches and add a little more oil if needed.

Once all the steaks are on the rack, place in the oven while you make the gravy. Discard the oil and give the skillet a quick wipe with a paper towel (especially if using breadcrumbs because the crumbs tend to burn a little easier and become bitter.) Add the onions and butter and sauté until golden, add 3 T from the seasoned flour mix and stir it to make the roux. Add the chicken stock and let simmer and thicken a little before adding the half and half. Simmer for 10 minutes allowing the gravy to get nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Once the gravy is thick, plate the steaks and cover with some gravy.

Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. For more information and archived copies of Stir it Up, visit Smitty welcomes your questions and comments at [email protected] or (530) 412-3598.

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Chef Smitty
Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Smitty has been teaching skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for more than 26 years each winter, and spends his summers working for High Sierra Waterski School since 2000. Smitty has been writing his chef column for Tahoe Weekly since 2005.