Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Fried Round Steak with Cream Gravy

Your correspondent first encountered, but not ate, Chicken Fried Steak on an ill-conceived trip across the country in 1973. The trip was ill-conceived because it started out being a sisterly jaunt with two unemployed women seeing their country for the first time, and ended up being directed by one Vaud Massarsky, my sister's then boyfriend, and forever real shit. I forget exactly where we ran into chicken fried steak, (and I always added facieciously) steak fried chicken, but it was somewhere in the great middle of our country. Was it Midland, Michigan, where we took a lake steamer across Lake Michigan? The lake steamer was huge, holding a bus, and many rail cars, as well as passenger cars. A storm blew up, which made me wonder, would those rail cars take us straight to the bottom, or would we have a chance to swim for it? Was it Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where we picked up a fly, named it Fergus, and pushed it out the window a hundred miles down the road? Was it around Mount Rushmore? Was it in Lead, South Dakota, (pronounced leed)?
Anyhow, because the Berkshire Farmer is a snotty Easterner who loves to make fun of people, chicken fried steak was one of those ridiculous things that people "out there" ate.
The food on the trip will forever stick in my mind as cementing the relationship between eating nothing but meat and baked potatoes and what the makers of 50s TV commercials delicately termed irregularity. By the time we got to our cousin's house in Corvalis, Oregon, my system was crying out for vegetables.
Well, we eat plenty of vegetables around here so chicken fried steak is not going to cause irregularity. My husband seemed fairly impressed that I had made it. It was a fond memory of his youth, spent crossing and recrossing the continent on trips from California where his parents settled, to Ohio, where they came from. We ate about 10:15, which is late even for our lax standards. My husband had been at a vestry meeting.
This is another one of those bland, Midwestern recipes. I doctored the cream gravy with Worcestershire sauce, which gave it some taste. I suggest that readers do the same. Sorry, Midwesterners, I'm not being snotty now, but 30-40 years ago, y'all did not go in for herbs and spices.

Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

2 pounds round steak, cut one-half-inch thick and pounded thin
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour or cracker crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoonn freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons oil or rendered beef fat
1 cup heavy cream

  1. Cut the pounded steak into serving pieces. Dip in the eggs mixed with the milk and then in the flour or cracker crumbs mixed with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil or fat in the heavy skillet, (400 degrees on an electric skillet) and brown the steaks in it very quickly on both sides. Remove to a warm platter.
  3. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring to loosen all browned-on bits. Serve gravy over mashed potatoes or bread. If steak is not tender enough after just frying, it can be returned to cream gravy, covered and cooked further.

1 comment:

  1. And after all that, what did you think of it? Any reason to make it again or does it just make more mess than is worthwhile?