steak

Chicken Fried Steak

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Several years ago my daughter Gillian and I drove from Chicago through some of the border states on our way back home to Connecticut.

We had a grand old time that included a (tasting) tour of the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

We also heard Grandpa Jones sing at the Grand Ole' Opry in Nashville.

One of the most astonishing things we witnessed were the thousands of people Christmas shopping in July in the malls in Gatlinburg (with motel accommodations priced at $39/night so you could shop till you dropped for more than one day).

Slowly we made our way through the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains. That was truly glorious.

And, last but not least, we saw -- everywhere we looked -- a lot of people eating chicken fried steak.

For breakfast!

Chicken fried steak for breakfast!

I love understanding local cuisine and sometimes even trying it. Somehow chicken fried steak smothered with gravy and accompanied by mashed potatoes and biscuits for breakfast seemed a bit much.

But that didn't stop me from trying it at home.

For dinner, of course.

Chicken fried steak, made properly (in the border states), is made with round steak. I substituted skirt steak. Anyone who has eaten skirt steak understands it can be tough, but you can pound it to make it more tender.

Or, you can use rib steak, but I think that's a waste for this particular recipe because, really, this kind of dish is about the fried, not the fabulous beef. If you do use rib steak though, be sure to slice it thin.

We didn't mind the chewiness of the skirt steak. Like fried veal or chicken cutlet, the outside is crispy and the inside moist and flavorful. The gravy is an indulgence.

Glad I tried it, but I wouldn't serve this for breakfast!

Chicken Fried Steak

  • 2 pounds skirt steak, approximately
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 teaspoons water, beaten together
  • vegetable oil
  • use 2 tablespoons of the seasoned flour for gravy
  • 1-1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup soy or rice milk (or more chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to warm. Cut the meat into smaller portions and set aside. In a dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt and whisk the ingredients to blend them thoroughly. In a bowl, beat the egg and water together until well combined. Remove 3 tablespoons of the seasoned flour and set it aside separately. Press each portion of meat in the seasoned flour, coating the surface completely. Coat the meat portions with the egg, then coat again with more of the seasoned flour. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle immediately. Fry the meat portions a few at a time, leaving plenty of space in the pan, for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy. Drain on paper towels and continue with the remaining meat. As the portions are cooked, place them on a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. When all the meat is cooked, discard all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the reserved seasoned flour and whisk into the fat, cooking over low-medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the stock and whisk until a smooth, thickened sauce has formed. Pour in the milk and whisk into the sauce. Remove the steaks to plates and serve covered with some of the gravy.

Makes 4 servings

Grilled, Marinated Chuck Steak

Chuck steak or rib steak?  Once, a long time ago we were at Ed’s sister Barbara’s house for the day. A day like today. Glorious and sunny, warm and not too humid. Perfect for a barbecue.  She took out a huge chuck steak. My mother-in-law almost fainted. She thought Barbara should have made rib steak because it’s more upscale and, after all, I was new to the family and she didn’t want me to think they didn’t know chuck from rib.  Interestingly enough my mother-in-law was not at all snooty or show-offy. Maybe she just wasn’t sure of me at that point.  What she didn’t know then, but learned that very moment, was that I love chuck. For hamburgers, roast beef and steak.  Sure, I love a great rib roast (and my mother-in-law made  GREAT rib roast ), but for steak and burgers: chuck is king. For me. Because it’s so meaty and beefy tasting.  Today is the perfect day for grilled steak. Weather is glorious in Connecticut and besides, what better way to honor the U.S. soccer/futbol team playing Portugal at the WORLD CUP today?! Nothing better than grilled American steak!   Grilled, Marinated Chuck Steak   2 pounds chuck steak  1/4 cup red wine  2 tablespoons olive oil  2 tablespoons orange juice  1 teaspoon Dijon mustard  1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves  1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger  1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel  1/2 teaspoon Sriracha  freshly ground black pepper to taste  Place the meat in a non-reactive pan. In a bowl, mix the wine, olive oil, orange juice, mustard, thyme, ginger, orange peel and Sriracha and pour over the meat. Turn the meat over once or twice to be sure all surfaces are covered. Marinate for about one hour. Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Remove the meat from the marinade. Sprinkle with fresh pepper. Grill or broil for 3-6 minutes per side, depending on whether you like the meat rare or medium-well.   Makes 4-6 servings

Chuck steak or rib steak?

Once, a long time ago we were at Ed’s sister Barbara’s house for the day. A day like today. Glorious and sunny, warm and not too humid. Perfect for a barbecue.

She took out a huge chuck steak. My mother-in-law almost fainted. She thought Barbara should have made rib steak because it’s more upscale and, after all, I was new to the family and she didn’t want me to think they didn’t know chuck from rib.

Interestingly enough my mother-in-law was not at all snooty or show-offy. Maybe she just wasn’t sure of me at that point.

What she didn’t know then, but learned that very moment, was that I love chuck. For hamburgers, roast beef and steak.

Sure, I love a great rib roast (and my mother-in-law made GREAT rib roast), but for steak and burgers: chuck is king. For me. Because it’s so meaty and beefy tasting.

Today is the perfect day for grilled steak. Weather is glorious in Connecticut and besides, what better way to honor the U.S. soccer/futbol team playing Portugal at the WORLD CUP today?! Nothing better than grilled American steak!

Grilled, Marinated Chuck Steak

2 pounds chuck steak

1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the meat in a non-reactive pan. In a bowl, mix the wine, olive oil, orange juice, mustard, thyme, ginger, orange peel and Sriracha and pour over the meat. Turn the meat over once or twice to be sure all surfaces are covered. Marinate for about one hour. Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Remove the meat from the marinade. Sprinkle with fresh pepper. Grill or broil for 3-6 minutes per side, depending on whether you like the meat rare or medium-well. 

Makes 4-6 servings