Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend Cooking - PW's Chicken Fried Steak

Weekend Cooking is hosted over at Beth Fish Reads

Last Christmas I discovered Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond's cookbook by accident as I was trying what to decide to buy with my BAM gift cards :)
I like Ree Drummond's recipes for a lot of reasons and have tried more recipes from her cookbook than I have from any other cookbook I own.
I even blogged about a few of those trials right here on my blog in my earliest blogging days:

It's no secret that I'm a Southern gal...and as far as I'm concerned, milk gravy should be its own food group.  I could care less about the brown stuff...but don't skimp on the milk gravy...ever.
And, there is nothing better than old fashioned Chicken Fried steak smothered and then extra dipped in a side container of that blessed milky stuff.

I've tried quite a few variations of this Southern classic...and Ree's is one of the best I've found.  I'm not as fond of Lawry's seasoning salt as she is, but it does not make any difference in this recipe.  I frequently change up my seasonings anyway, depending on what I have on hand or quite frankly, what kinda mood I'm in.

Here are Ree's specifics, and then I'll walk you through my process:

3 lbs. cubed 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 tsp. seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 cup oil for frying

Obviously you start with cubed steak. I like to buy thin pieces rather than big bulky pieces...I have a tendency to overcook thick meat bc I'm scared to death of food poisoning (I'm really not kidding).

Make an egg bath with the eggs and 1 cup of milk,  

and then a batch of your dry ingredients (flour, pepper, seasoned salt, paprika, and cayenne) 

Lightly season each piece of cubed steak with salt and pepper and then, kinda like a production line, submerge each piece of cubed steak into the milk/egg bath...

then into the flour mixture...

then, back into the egg/milk bath

then back into the flour again...

Yes, I did dunk the meat into both the egg bath and flour mixture TWICE.

After this process is complete, you will have some seriously dredged and floured pieces of meat

some seriously messed up hands :)

And if you're me, you will also have some seriously messed up kitchen counters, bowls and plates :)

Add the meat when your oil is good and hot (the meat needs to begin sizzling as soon as it goes in), keep a good eye on it and cook the dredged cubed steak on on both sides...Ree suggests about 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until the edges start to get brown.

Then flip 'em.

You can see in this picture why Ree recommends the dredging thing twice...look at that don't know crumbly, flaky good crust till you do this. 

Take those babies out and get ready for the milk gravy.

Pour all but about 1/4 cup of oil out of your pan...but under no circumstances should you try to clean your pan...keep all that yummy crumbly stuff in there...your gravy will thank you later.
Pour in your 1/3 cup of flour

and then whisk that stuff up till its nice and smooth and a beautiful brown.

Pour in your 2 cups of milk and whisk again till the gravy thickens to your liking.

Add a little salt and pepper to your taste...

Pour that mouth watering creamy goodness onto each piece of meat.
As you can see we had buttermilk biscuits and lima beans as sides this particular night.
I also always keep fresh veggie and fruit salads on hand for every meal. 

This particular recipe is not on Ree's blog, but it is in her cookbook, Pioneer Woman Cooks, on pgs 142-145

Till next week...


  1. I made this last year and it was TO DIE FOR. Lordy can that woman cook. She is the reason that I battle with the dang scale. :)

  2. Oh my! I do love me some chicken fried steak. I am a southern girl too, I grew up in TN. However, I never had chicken fried steak until I moved to Texas. My poor yankee husband had never had one until I introduced him to it.
    There is nothing better than a GOOD chicken fried steak, but nothing worse than a bad one.
    You have made me hungry.. thanks!

  3. Oh yum! I love chicken fried steak.

  4. Paula, a very good point to make indeed about bad chicken fried steak. One month ago I actually ate a couple of bites of the worst CFS I have ever put into my mouth...I was in Jxn MS and this particular restaurant catered the meeting I was attending. So many of us in attendance complained that this week when I was back for the follow up meeting, we had completely different food from a completely different restaurant. I think simple, classic food should be left alone. This is definitely one of those recipes that needs to be left alone :)

  5. I have heard of this before, but couldn't figure out how you put the chicken and steak together to fry. It's not a dish you find up here in the Great White North. Very interesting. I'd love to try it in a restaurant or diner, specially the milk gravy. It's so foreign sounding.

  6. yes, up here in the Great White North (and it is very white at the moment) the only place you can get CFS is at the also rare Cracker Barrel restaurant.

    I love the Pioneer Woman! I don't have her cookbook but I read her blog faithfully. What great food...and a lot of other cool things.

  7. Not a dish you can find too often in Chicago either. A few restaurants have it but I've never ordered it. My husband likes chicken fried steak... maybe if I can handle the mess I'll make some. It does look tasty. Perhaps when I can use my outdoor cooking area which is currently covered with snow.

  8. I have made many a PW recipe but my hand's down favorite is on page 14 of her cookbook - the BBQ Jalapeño Poppers. She has posted a similar recipe on her website but without the BBQ sauce. I took the poppers to a party and the men were just about swooning over them. (If you remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños, they're not hot.) Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there if you ever need to impress a crowd.

  9. I have to say that looks really good, but I don't generally fry (I'm a Yankee!). I have the PW cookbook but I haven't made many recipes from it. I should give it another look.

  10. I will make each of you ladies from the North some CFS if you'll let us borrow some of that white stuff ya'll have so much of right now :)My 6 yr old is in mourning over the snow that might have been.

    I only make dishes like this every once in a while...if it was a part of our weekly or even monthly repertoire, we would all weigh 600 lbs.

    Linda, I'm gonna give those poppers a try...I worried about the heat but you've convinced me otherwise :)

    Beth, my children bow down and call me blessed when I make Apple Dumplings from PW's cookbook and they are like little children in the kitchen when we make her chocolate sheet cake. My husband is the pickiest one of all and he absolutely adores Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich (I don't care for it that much though).

  11. Oh, my, gosh! Great photos with this post (especially appreciate the "messed up hands" and flour-covered counters!). Chicken fried steak looks really good, but I also like the look of your buttermilk biscuits.

  12. Thanks, Dawn! Those biscuits are Pillsbury...they come in a package in the freezer section of my grocery store ;)

  13. I am a southern gal all my life and embarrassed to tell you that I only really learned to fry during the last two years. But now? Stand back from that cast iron and let me show you my stuff!
    This looks great. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. This milky goodness must be the gravy my husband swoons about when he talks about Southern cooking. He lived in the NC area for several years.

  15. Yummy! Love the photos and the humor! :)

  16. Oh my god. I have been CRAVING chicken fried steak for WEEKS now. Having grown up on the Indiana/Kentucky border, no matter how many NE diners I try, they just can't get a chicken fried steak quite right.