Country Fried Steak
Country Fried Steak, also known as Chicken fried steak, is a Southern food classic but is so easy to make at home. Tenderized round steak, or cube steak, is breaded and fried to a crispy golden brown. The pan drippings are used to make a flavorful creamy milk gravy so you can smother the steaks. Serve with mashed potatoes for a decadent comfort food dinner.
Prepare the steaks:
Pound the steaks: Flattening one steak at a time, place steak into a large resealable plastic bag and use a meat tenderizer mallet to pound them to a uniform ¼ inch thickness.
Sprinkle a little salt over both sides of each steak. Preheat oven to 200°F.
Prep the coating: Using two flat bottomed dishes large enough to fit the tenderized steaks, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in one dish and combine the flour with the salt and seasonings in the other.
Coat the steaks: Press both sides of each steak into the flour mixture. Shake off excess. Dredge both sides into the egg mixture. Shake off excess. Then, set steak in the flour mixture for a second time, ensuring that the entire surface is well coated by shaking it around. Flip to coat both sides, but take care not to pull off any coating. Transfer to a clean plate or large cutting board while you finish remaining steaks.
Fry the steaks:
Heat the pan: Over medium high heat, heat pan with oil until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F.
Cook steak: Carefully place one prepared steak in the hot oil. Use a large metal spoon to transfer excess hot oil in the pan to the top of the steak. Fry until you see the edges of the steak turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Use tongs to carefully turn the steak in the pan and cook for another 2 minutes (no need to spoon hot oil on top of already cooked side).
Transfer to rack: Use tongs to lift fried steak out of pan and allow any excess oil to drip off. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess grease and then a wire rack placed over baking sheet and keep warm in preheated oven until all steaks and gravy are finished and ready to serve.
Fry remaining steaks: Follow same process to cook remaining steaks and transfer each on to the rack in the oven to keep warm until done. Adjust heat, if needed, to maintain an oil temperature of 350°F.
Make the gravy:
Reduce amount of oil. Transfer all but ¼ cup of the drippings to a glass or metal bowl. Do not discard in case more is needed later. Add butter to pan.
Make the roux. Reduce heat under pan to medium low. Sprinkle the flour over the hot oil and whisk to combine. Flour should absorb all of the oil and will turn golden brown over the low heat when whisked continually. If mixture seems too greasy once mixed, add a bit more flour. If mixture is to dry, add additional reserved drippings. Cook about 5 minutes while continually whisking, until the roux is a light brown.
Finish gravy: Combine milk and heavy cream. Slowly pour into roux, whisking the entire time. Continue to heat and whisk until gravy reaches desired consistency. If gravy doesn't thicken, slowly increase heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
How to serve Country Fried Steak:
Tenderizing and flattening steaks: If you don't have a meat mallet, you can use a variety of objects including a rolling pin, wine bottle, the bottom of a heavy pan, or a rubber mallet. Round steaks are incredibly tough, however, and you have to pound much harder than you would a chicken breast. For that reason, I recommend a mallet and be prepared to hit it hard. Continue pounding the roast until it doesn't "fight you back", meaning it feels tender when you hit it.
Keeping steaks warm: Since the steaks are large enough that they will be cooked one at a time and then the gravy will be made, preheat oven to 200°F to keep cook steaks warm and crisp prior to serving. Ideally they will be kept warm on a wire rack over a baking sheet or directly on the oven rack to keep both sides crisp, but they can also be set on foil or in a pan. If your toaster oven is large enough, use that instead.
No need to deep fry: If you were to order Chicken Fried Steak at a restaurant, it will be deep fried. When cooking at home, you can use less oil by spooning the hot oil over the top of the steak prior to flipping it. This will ensure the steaks are equally browned on both sides.
Temperature of oil: For best results, measure the temperature of the oil with a thermometer to verify it is at 350°F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can verify it is hot enough by adding a small amount of flour. If it does not sizzle and turn golden brown, the oil is not hot enough. If it burns, or the oil starts to smoke, the oil is too hot. Oil temperature may tend to fluctuate during cooking process, so adjust heat as needed.
Nutritional information: Serving size is based on one whole steak with lots of gravy. Recipe makes plenty of gravy - enough to smother your steak as well as the mashed potatoes. You can easily get 8 servings out of this recipe by cutting the steaks in half.
Calories: 896kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 256mg | Sodium: 2027mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1291IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 8mg