Chicken Fried Steak

It had been awhile since we had a steak dinner because of my husband’s problems with his dentures.  He usually doesn’t wear them because they are painful.  This steak was so delicious that even he managed to eat it though.  In the past, I used to make it with buttermilk and 2% milk.  I accidently discovered a secret ingredient when I ran out of buttermilk and didn’t want to run to the store.  I found that by mixing 2 tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing in my milk and egg mixture that it gave it the sourness similar to buttermilk, but that it tasted even better. So now, even if I use the buttermilk and regular milk, I will always add the salad dressing in there too.  This goes for fried chicken, fried okra, anything that I need to bread and fry up.  I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Ingredients

2-3 lbs of Cubed Steak (round steak that has already been tenderized)
½ cup Buttermilk (optional)
2 cups 2% or whole milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing (in the bottle – already prepared)
2 – 3 cups of flour
1 –1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper seasoning
½ teaspoon ground paprika (optional)
Cooking oil

Instructions

In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so that the steaks are covered on top, allow the tops to stick up out of the hot oil. I’ve never measured my oil, I just eyeball it.  Probably about a cup or so. Heat this on a high setting.  You want it to be hot, but not too hot.  I cook my steaks 5-6 minutes on each side.  I have to play with the heat.  I get it really hot and then most of the cooking is done on medium-high setting.
You can let it heat up while you are working on the breading. So you may want to set it at medium-high. I have to warn you though, if you don’t have it hot enough when you cook your steaks, the breading will fall off and it won’t come out right. You can test the oil by putting a very, very, small drop of water in it, if it sizzles it is hot enough. I’ve gotten to wear I check it by placing my hand over it, I can tell if it is hot enough.  Be very careful either way. If it’s smoking or sputtering, it’s way too hot, get that skillet off the burner and let it cool off!

You need two large bowls.  One to put your egg and milk mixture in, the other to put your dry ingredients like flour, salt, and seasonings in. In one large bowl, combine the milk, buttermilk, salad dressing, and eggs.  Sometimes I add a little salt and pepper to this as well, that is up to you.  Using a whisk, mix them up together.  In another bowl, combine your flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and mix to combine well.  You will need a platter to set your breaded steaks on as you prepare them.

I like to use the cubed steaks that come in a family pack already cut in serving sizes and tenderized.  So take a steak and dredge it in the flour mixture first.  Then shake a little excess flour off and dredge it in the milk mixture.  Now back into the flour mixture making sure you let any excess egg & milk mixture drip off into the milk mixture before doing this. Otherwise your flour will clump up – you want your flour to be loose.  Make sure both sides are coated well.  Place on a platter.  When you have done 3-4 (enough to fit in your skillet) stop breading and place them in your skillet.  You need to time them.  If you over cook these, they will be tough and hard to chew.  You want a nice golden crispy coat before you turn them over.  This will take about 5-6 minutes.  Once you have cooked them on each side, I usually place mine on a cookie sheet in the oven on a low setting like 250 F while I finish the others.

These steaks are so tender that if you let them soak too long in the milk mixture, they will fall apart.  However, if you want to go ahead and bread all of your steaks at one time, you should refrigerate them while you cook the others.  I noticed on food network that cooks that left their breaded foods too long at room temperature, would have trouble keeping the breading on when they fried them.  So put them on a platter that can be refrigerated if you do this. Basically I think there are two causes for the breading not to stay on – one is not having the oil hot enough when you fry them, two is what I just said, leaving them at room temperature too long.

These steaks taste great with creamy white gravy.  I posted this gravy recipe before, but I will include it below.  My gravy tastes better without buttermilk.  I have tried to make it on more than one occasion – reducing the buttermilk, but it is just too sour for my tastes.  Feel free to add buttermilk if you like, but I prefer it without it.

Gravy Recipe

2 Tbsp bacon fat
2 Tbsp butter
1 tspn Kosher salt
2/3 cup of flour
2-3 cups of milk

In a saucepan, heat your bacon fat and butter until the butter melts.  I usually do this on medium high, but I stand over it so it doesn’t burn.  You may want to do this on medium setting.  As soon as the butter melts and the oil is hot, add your flour.  I eyeball this as well, using my hands and just my finger tips, I put in 3 finger fulls of flour – I’m guessing it amounts to 2/3 of a cup.  You want the same amount of flour as to fat/butter.  So try to shoot for that amount.  Using a whisk, combine the flour and oils together.  Now add your milk until it is the right quantity that you want. You can always thicken it up later.  I use about 2 cups or so.  Bring it up to a boil, stirring frequently, and then down to medium, and all the way down to low.  Allow it to simmer long enough for the flour taste to be removed.  If it is too thin to your liking, you can thicken it by taken a small measuring cup with about ¼ cup of water and adding a little flour.  Stir it up to get the lumps out and pour it in and combine and let it cook.  Or if your gravy is too thick, you can thin it out with water.  Sometimes if I let my gravy sit too long, it gets too thick, so I just add a tablespoon or so of water.  Sometimes you may have to add more.



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