Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken-Fried Steak

I tend to shy away from labels like “man food” and “girl food.” I mean, come on: Food is food, am I right? I enjoy the heck out of a big, juicy T-bone steak, just like my husband loves a nice, light salad once in a while. However, I’ve recently discovered one exception to this point of view, and it’s chicken-fried steak. To me, chicken-fried steak is completely, totally “man food.”

I’ve now tried two chicken-fried steak recipes -- this one, from the Pioneer Woman, and Paula Deen’s (minus the MSG -- shame on you, Paula!). While Joe loved both recipes, I found myself feeling lukewarm about them. After making Pioneer Woman’s recipe recently, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I just really am not all that crazy about chicken-fried steak.

Wow, I’m not really selling this recipe, am I? I mean, it was flavorful and the breading was crispy and the milk gravy was creamy and it was everything chicken-fried steak is supposed to be. And Joe absolutely loved it and ate waaaaaay more of that gravy than he probably should have. I didn’t think it was bad, but I didn’t love it either. I think it’s just the nature of the dish; it’s just too heavy for me. It’s “man food.”

What do you guys think about gender designations for food? And how do you feel about chicken-fried steak? Am I the only one who just doesn’t love it?

(Oh, and I'm listing the ingredients as they appear in the cookbook. Obviously I used way less than 3 pounds of steak.)

Chicken-Fried Steak
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

3 pounds cube steak
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, plus 2 cups for the gravy
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1/3 cup for the gravy
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. Mix the flour, seasoned salt, paprika, cayenne and black pepper together in a shallow plate. Mix the eggs with 1 cup of the milk in another shallow dish. Have a third empty dish close by.

2. Lightly season the meat with salt and pepper. Dip each piece into the egg/milk mixture, then into the flour mixture. Now, dip the flour covered meat back into the egg mixture and then one more time into the flour mixture. Place the double dipped meat onto the empty plate.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the meat, several pieces at a time. Cook on one side until the edges start to look golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip the meat and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes on the other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm until all the meat has been cooked.

4. After frying all the meat, pour off all the grease into a heat-proof bowl. Do not clean the pan! Return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the pan. Allow the grease to heat up. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with grease, creating a paste. When the flour becomes golden brown, while whisking constantly, pour in two cups of milk. Whisk to combine, then let the gravy come to a slow boil. Add more milk if the gravy becomes too thick, whisking it into the flour/gravy. The whole process should take between 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Place the warm meat on a plate with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes. Drizzle with the gravy.



Leigh said...

I never know what to think about "man" food vs "woman" food. Mainly because if there are tabs on a recipe blog I am far more likely to click the man tab first. There is nothing better than a good burger covered in cheese and bacon or a big stead with a baked potato. I am totally a man food girl. Okay okay, I am just a food girl in general.

Allison said...

I'm all over man food. Which is probably why I'm about 60 pounds overweight. But I love heavy stuff...there really isn't much food I don't like, man or woman (except fish...blech). Love a big fat steak, burger, etc. :)

Rachel said...

I've never really had any desire to try chicken fried steak, although my husband raves about it! Your picture looks great...I'll have to make it for him one day and give it a try, as well!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

I used to love chicken fried steak as a kid, especially with mashed potatoes and everything covered in gravy. I craved it a lot when I was pregnant but every time I ate it, I was never satisfied. Now I have no desire to eat chicken fried steak again.

My brothers, on the other hand, wolf down chicken fried steak and anything else smothered in gravy.

ann said...

I love a lot of man food but some things are totally man food. My sons and my husband love Buffalo wings and any variation on that theme. I can't get into that.

Debbie said...

I've made chicken fried steak and do like it but it's not the kind of meal I make often. Every once in a great while. I don't know if there are men vs. woman foods. Depends on the man and woman really!!!

Linda said...

The reason I am not crazy about chicken fried steak is because it is usually too "thick". The absolute best was when we lived in Houston and a restaurant called "Dirty's" served up one that literally overlapped the plate. They made theirs thin, probably by pounding it, and it was crispy and light and wonderful. And the gravy has to be perfect too--not too heavy but not too thin.

I love man food and woman food. :)

Keri said...

You know, I'm all about "man" food, but like you, I'm not a big fan of chicken fried steak. Your picture looks so good that I may have to try it one more time, though:-)!

Desi said...

I'm a man food kinda gurl... I mean look at the name! I love me some steak! Or any red meat really. I love wings, burgers, all things that I guess would qualify as man foods. I have never had chicken fried steak. I am so confused by it.... is it chicken or is it steak?! And why have both names? If it is chicken, what makes it steak? And if it is steak, makes it chicken?! I see that you used cube steak so that answers one of my many questions lol

Mina said...

This looks absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

ratso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ratso said...

nice recipe. however the msg thing has been disproven a million times. people eat it all over the world, especially in asia. please also note that anyone can have a sensitivity to any food, but that does not mean everyone does.