Friday, July 24, 2015

Chicken Fried Steak

Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak

Today I thought I’d do a quick blog covering the who, what, when, where and why of Chicken Fried Steak.

Who misses chicken fried steak? 

The short answer to this one is me and probably every other gluten free person out there who can no longer order this dish from a diner menu since it's coated in flour.  Another answer is anyone avoiding the dish due to its higher caloric and fat content.  This blog solves the dilemma facing the gluten free set but unfortunately does nothing for the latter group so I apologize in advance.  

What is chicken fried steak anyway? 

If you'r not familiar with this one, I'm left to wonder if you’ve  been living under a rock.  I guess that's not fair.  Perhaps you’re from another part of the world so let me describe it.  Basically chicken fried steak is a cheap cut of beef like round steak that has been sliced on the thinner side then passed through a tenderizing machine.  The steak is then coated with seasoned flour then fried the same way fried chicken is done.  Of course the deliciousness wouldn’t be complete without the milk based gravy and starchy sides.

When was chicken fried steak invented? 

According to Wikipedia, there are multiple claims of credit for the dish but in 1838 a Virginia housewife named Mary Randolph first published a recipe very similar but it used veal cutlets instead of the steak. The recipe for what we now know as chicken fried steak was included in many regional cookbooks by the late 19th century.

Where is this dish most popular?

Since chicken fried steak comes from southern roots I’d say it is most popular in the southern states.  Scratch that. This dish has become such a big part of Americana that it’s popular everywhere and can be found on most classic diner menu’s coast to coast.  I forgot to mention that chicken fried steak is also called country fried steak on many menus.  Perhaps including the word chicken in a dish that doesn't contain chicken confused people so some opted for for the country fried steak moniker instead.

Why am I so excited?

I’m super stoked simply because  I’ve recreated this classic comfort food so that it fits in with my gluten free lifestyle.  Just take one bite of this chicken fried steak and you’ll be excited too.  I guarantee it.

Chicken Fried Steak
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 2-4

  • 1 lb cube steak
  • oil for frying (vegetable or something flavorless)

Ingredients for the Buttermilk Brine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Seasoned Flour
  • 1 ½ cups gluten free flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour)
  • ¾ cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Ingredients for the Gravy
  • 1 ½ tbsp reserved oil from frying the steaks
  • 2 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 bouillon cube (beef or chicken)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. In a medium bowl beat the egg then add the buttermilk, hot sauce and salt and whisk until well combined then add the cube steaks and let them soak while you prep the flour.
  2. In another medium bowl combine the gluten free flour and cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of salt and the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper and stir until well combined.
  3. Remove each cube steak from the buttermilk brine and let the excess liquid drip off before dipping the meat into the seasoned flour then turn it over to coat it thoroughly and place the meat onto a baking rack where the air can circulate.  
  4. Once all the meat is coated if you want a thicker coating you can return the steak to the egg mixture then back into the seasoned flour before placing it back onto the rack to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before frying.
  5. To fry them, in a medium cast-iron skillet, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil to a medium heat and fry 2-3 steaks at a time until they start to look golden brown which should take about 2-3 minutes per side
  6. Drain them on a wire rack so the air can circulate and they won’t get soggy while you make the gravy.
  7. For the gravy, remove all but 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil from the pan then sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of gluten free flour…. and with the pan over a medium low heat whisk the flour and grease together stirring constantly to create a golden roux then pour in the milk and a beef bouillon cube and continue whisking until the bouillon is dissolved and the gravy is thick and smooth then serve with the steaks.   

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