i owe miss sarah fawcett for this, well, stunning discovery actually.
she agreed to help me experiment with round steak: this is a cut you’re going to find in your residential packs that is almost fat free. this makes it a nice lean cut, but one that needs a bit of doctoring to tenderize. i told her that after googling up a storm, the one recipe that kept coming up over and over again was for chicken fried steak (a texan favourite), and we obviously didn’t want to make that. have you ever had a chicken fried steak, she asked? no, i hadn’t. well, she replied, maybe it’s delicous.
as it turns out, no maybe about it. despite my intent to try to stick to inventive, relatively healthy recipes, all that was thrown out the window with this recipe, and…no regrets. au contraire mon frere…which reminds me, my brother david backed up the idea by being reduced to a giddy fool at the mere memory of the chicken fried steak he had years ago (when he was stuck in florida for days after 9/11, actually).
it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. in case you’re a little skeptical, it’s really a schnitzel, but with this incredible white gravy. not the kind of dish you’re going to want to serve up often, but it’s sure to become a guilty pleasure.
just make this. trust me.
CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
round steak (1 good sized steak will feed four people; you take to it with a meat mallet)
approx. 1 1/2 cups flour
salt and pepper
olive oil (or vegetable oil)
2 cups whipped cream (but you could probably use half and half and get really similiar results)
Cut the round steak into 4 pieces. Place it between wax paper (or saran wrap) and pound it with the mallet. go nuts. this process, besides thinning out the meat, tenderizes it by breaking down the fibers and connective tissues.
On a plate, combine flour with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I eyeballed this, but probably used about a teaspoon of the powder and paprika, and then seasoned normally with s & p. In a larger soup bowl, beat the eggs, and season with salt and pepper as well. Dredge the meat in the flour, then the eggs, then back in the flour again.
While you’re doing this, heat a healthy amount of olive oil in a frying pan, a quarter cup or so. We used olive oil, but Sarah pointed out that oo tends to burn and smoke a bit more than vegetable oil, but it’s your choice. The oil has to be really hot; you want the meat to have a big sizzle when you put it in.
Fry the meat approximately 2 minutes on each side…it doesn’t take long. As soon as each side was a golden crispy brown we took it out. It’s best to do one at a time; as you finish one place it in your oven, preheated to 250, on your broiler pan to allow any extra oil to drip off.
When you’re finished frying the meat, you should have about 3 tbsp of oil left. Remove some oil if there’s too much. To the oil add about 1 tbsp of flour. Whisk it into the drippings until it gets brown and nutty, about a minute. Ours turned into little brown balls, which we were obviously concerned about, but it was fine. Slowly add the whipped cream to the pan, bringing to a gentle boil to thicken. Salt and pepper VERY important here. Season! Add chopped fresh thyme for the last few minutes of cooking.
Spoon gravy over the meat. We served it with these fantastic little “gnochetti”s we found at safeway; just boil and toss with butter and salt and pepper.
okay, writing that recipe out makes me want to go and cook some more up right this minute. i get it now, David.