Chicken fried steak

By Matty Matheson
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My love for chicken fried steaks really clicked when we started traveling with my dad in the States and going to Cracker Barrel. Once again, Canadians do not have soul food or classic diner culture really, so even a mass-produced Walmart-type restaurant like CB would be a heaven for tourists like us, driving to Florida. We’d be full on sweet tea and chicken fried steaks, listening to rented books on tapes about Navy SEALs or hobbits or sci-fi (our choices). I recently went back to a CB and loved it just as much. I was in Oklahoma with Brad Leone shooting that noodlin’ video. The sides could use some work, but the fried chicken and the chicken fried steak are winners. And I love that it’s a dry and 100 percent family restaurant. No drunk losers around is a paradise in sawmill gravy heaven.

SERVES
4

Ingredients

Chicken fried steak:

  • 520 gram top sirloin, cut into 4 steaks
  • 1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (200 grams) unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cups (480 ml) canola oil

Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Chicken Stock (page 51), or store-bought, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, quartered, for garnish

Directions

  1. Make the chicken fried steak: Pull a large piece of plastic wrap out from its container and fold it back onto itself so you have a double layer of wrap that is the size of your cast-iron skillet. Make a second plastic wrap sheet the exact same way.
  2. Place a portion of steak onto the center of the plastic wrap, place the second sheet of plastic wrap on top of that one, and using a meat mallet, pound the steak, working from the center and pounding out to the edges until the steak is super thin. Repeat with the remaining portions of steak.
  3. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl and whisk. Put the bread crumbs in a third shallow bowl. Season the flattened steak with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Remove and shake off any excess flour.
  4. Submerge one portion of steak at a time in the egg wash, holding them above the wash to let some egg wash drain off, then dipping them into the bread crumbs and tossing lightly to evenly coat the steak.
  5. Heat the canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Fry one portion of steak until browned, three to five minutes on each side. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot—it should not be smoking at any point. Remove the steak from the oil and onto a paper towel–lined plate. Add more oil to the pan if needed, bring the oil up to temperature, and repeat with the remaining steak.
  6. As the steak is cooking, make the gravy: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk and scraping up the browned bits of flour until the mixture is light golden brown, about four minutes. Gradually stir in the chicken stock, then add the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook until the gravy thickens, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the gravy with more stock until desired consistency.
  7. Finish the steaks with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon, and salt as soon as they come out of the oil and serve with the gravy and lemon quarters.

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