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.)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.
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.
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.