Chipotle Chicken Fried SteakPosted: 30 March 2011
If there’s one thing I am not proficient at cooking, it’s Southern food. Exhibit A: my fear of brisket. That was so well worth it though, I figured I might as well try a few more Southern recipes out in case they’re on to something. There are a few Southern foods that I continue to fear. Grits comes to mind. I had grits once and I spit them out. I don’t like cornmeal or anything in the cornmeal family so that fear, I’m pretty sure, is going to stay put. No grits. I’d like to try fried okra at some point, and could handle more Tex-Mex in my life. Still, I’m not sure how ready I am to jump into the Southern cooking genre.
A few months ago at the gym I watched Bobby Flay do the ‘throw-down’ thing at a chuck wagon in Texas. They were making chicken fried steak. I remember thinking that I had never had chicken fried steak, except maybe a taste of someone else’s at a Perkins as a teenager. So doesn’t count. The episode really stuck with me and I have no problem admitting that it was 100% because Stephanie March (i.e. Alex Cabbot from Law & Order SVU) was a guest judge on the episode. She’s also Bobby Flay’s wife and she made fun of his wimpy little chicken fried steaks which I thought was fabulous. Both Senor and I love SVU. Before we were officially dating, we’d watch SVU marathons on USA and have running Tuesday night ‘dates’ to watch the newest episode. Anyway, back to the chicken fried steak. I remember thinking I wanted to make it at some point, then I filed that away into a very long list of recipes I’d like to try my hand at. That list is ever-growing.
Fast-forward to March and what do I find in my freezer? A remaining round steak from our beef purchase from The Grass Fed Cattle Co. If you remember, the last round steak I unearthed from the freezer depths turned into Beef Stroganoff and it was delicious. This time though, I wanted to make something that didn’t require a lot of stewing. The chicken fried steak episode popped into my head and I was off and running. First things first, I had to procure a meat tenderizer for myself. The second thing was to decide, breakfast or dinner? I went with breakfast, although we ate around noon so it was definitely a brunch meal. I thought that creamy, runny egg yolks would be well paired with creamy, delicious gravy. I was not wrong. Third, I had to figure out if I was going to go with traditional seasoning, or toss caution to the wind and make up my own. Of course, I went the tossing route and ended up making a seasoning blend with plenty of chili powder and chipotle seasoning. This is a pretty heavy, calorie-dense meal so we had it on a day when we were being extra, extra active but beware, it has that ‘food coma’ effect so it’s entirely possible that after eating it all you will do is lay on your sofa. These things happen. Also, don’t feel like you have to use a round steak to make this. Any cut of meat that is a bit tough will do. You want to be able to pound it out into a thin piece of meat and you also don’t want to bread and fry a really great cut like a tenderloin.
Chipotle Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy
1 round steak, approx. 1.5 lbs, cut into pieces and pounded flat
1-2 cups of flour for breading
2 eggs, whipped for egg wash
2 Tablespoons butter
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup milk
Garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne powder, kosher salt, black pepper, Mrs. Dash’s Chipotle Seasoning blend (optional)
Cut your steak into pieces and trim off the fat. Pound each side with the spiked side of a meat tenderizer until the meat is thin and flat. This can take some work, so if you have any aggression, the meat is a good place to take it out.
This round steak turned into this much meat once tenderized.
Sprinkle the meat lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside. In a bowl, whip up your two eggs for the egg wash.
Place 1-2 cups of flour into a bowl. How much breading you prepare depends on how much breading you want on your steak. If you only plan on dredging the meat through once and frying, one cup will suffice. If you plan on dredging, frying and then dredging and frying again, go with two cups. Dredging once means less breading and fewer calories. Dredging twice means a more consistent coating of breading and, according to the show I watched, a more authentic chicken fried steak experience.
Add your spices to your flour. I sprinkled in kosher salt, plenty of black pepper, a ton of chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder and a few shakes of Mrs. Dash’s chipotle seasoning blend. It felt like I used a ton of spices but the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. The spices are so mellowed by the flour that if you want to make it spicy, you really have to use a lot of cayenne and chili powder. Once mixed, my flour had a nice reddish-orange tint to it.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil so that the pieces of meat will be covered halfway with the oil/butter mixture. As the oil heats up, place one of your pieces of meat in the egg wash. Quickly remove it from the egg and place it in the flour bowl. You can drag (dredge) it through the flour. You can lay it down and pour flour on top of it. You can add flour to both of your palms and then press them against the meat to make sure both sides have a good amount of flour. When the oil is ready, add your floured meat.
Cook a few pieces at a time. This is red meat so as you cook it, you will see the blood coming up above the breading. Once the breading is golden on each side and you can either return the meat to the egg wash and flour for refrying, or you can move the piece onto a wire rack to cool. I actually don’t have a wire rack of any kind (it may be a sore spot) so I just use paper towels on a plate for all cooling needs. This will also work. If you are frying a lot of meat you may need to add more oil to your pan.
After you have all of your meat properly fried and golden, it’s time to make the gravy. Keep your skillet on medium heat. Add half a cup of water to deglaze the pan and whisk lightly. At this point I know a lot of cooking pros would tell you to whisk in some flour. I didn’t do that. I added about a cup of milk and turned the heat up to high, stirring with a whisk. While it was heating up, I dissolved the remaining flour from the breading mixture in a large cup of hot water. I poured that into the skillet and brought it to a boil. This means fewer lumps and less whisking like a mad woman to avoid lumps in my gravy. I am okay with this. I added some extra chili powder and cayenne for good measure, and a final pinch of salt. Once slightly thickened, reduce the heat to low. Remember that once you let the gravy stand, it will thicken more.
Serve with eggs over easy and a side of mashed potatoes. Cover with as much gravy as you’d like. Just watch out for the edge of the plate.