I have eaten and made a lot of chicken fried steak. We had it in school and it was on almost every menu unless you were eating Chinese or Mexican food. Some of it is bad and some of it is really good. When I got here and saw them on a few menus I thought I was lucky to not have to constantly make them at home. I was wrong. Memphis is great for barbeque and has some great seafood places, steak houses, and even a lot of Mexican and gourmet restaurants but so far the chicken fried steak is just sad. They deep fry it mostly which should never be done and they try and serve it with brown gravy which makes me sad. So here is what you need to know about chicken fried steak. It is easy. It does not involve thyme or real cream in the gravy. It should be pan fried in a small amount of oil and NEVER deep fried! If you are lucky enough find already tenderized round steaks then you are set but if you can’t find them, which I couldn’t, then tenderize your own. I recommend that you even tenderize the ones that are tenderized just to thin the steaks out. I like mine so thin you can nearly see through them that way they cook fast and are crisp. I made a lot of steaks so you may want to adjust the amount of dredge or gravy I made. Of important note is that cold chicken fried steak makes a terrific sandwich the next day with some brown mustard on it so leftovers are a good thing. I used to rush into the fridge the next day at my grandparent’s house to try and get one of the steaks before my grandpa got them all. They are worth fighting for! Once you have tenderized your round steaks sprinkle them with some Cajun seasoning and let them sit while you make the cream gravy. Around here when I say Cajun seasoning I mean Tony Chachere’s but you use what you like. Now gravy time!
¼ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 ½ cups milk (warmed slightly)
Melt the butter in a pan with the seasonings.
Add the flour and whisk it in. Let it cook just a minute to toast the flour slightly. Keep whisking so it does not burn!
Slowly add in the milk a little at a time whisking it in thoroughly. Once the gravy is thickened but not too thick you can take it off the heat and place a lid on it. Turn the burner back on to low a few minutes before you pull your last steak out of the pan just to warm it up.
For the steaks:
Tenderized round steaks (I made 9 so the amount of dredge will work for that amount. Adjust as needed)
1 cup flour
1 cup corn starch
Salt, pepper, and more Cajun seasoning
Water (just enough to thin out the eggs)
Oil (just enough to cover the bottom of your pan with a ½ inch of oil)
Place your oil on to heat up and put your oven to the lowest temperature or warm. You will need a sheet pan or a large platter to put the finished steaks on while you cook the rest. Mix the flour, corn starch, and the seasonings together in a pie pan or shallow dish. Taste it to see if it needs more seasoning. You want the flour to taste like something so be sure not to under season here. I use cornstarch in both my fried chicken and here because it helps to give a crisp crust that does not get soggy while sitting. Whisk the eggs in another dish and add just enough water to thin them out.
Once your oil is hot you can start coating the steaks. Place the steak in the flour dredge first.
Now into the egg mixture.
And again into the flour dredge.
Place no more than 2 steaks into the pan at once and you may have to do one at a time if your pan is small. Don’t overcrowd or they will not cook properly. Once they are brown and crispy on one side flip them over and cook the other side. Remove when both sides are done and keep warm in the oven until all the steaks are finished. Cover in cream gravy and serve with mashed potatoes and corn. You’re welcome!