March 14, 2014

Chicken Fried Steak with Milk Gravy


    My husband's mother has deep roots in West Texas, and he loves Texas style food.  He enjoys that stick to your ribs and stomach filling quality.  While his mom did not prepare those kinds of food for him as she had had enough fried foods as a child and teenager, preferring a simpler dinner of tacos and chili. She says she thought there was only milk gravy until she married and learned otherwise.   
    My husband’s grandmother, Tommie's method of cooking was to fry.  Tommie grew up on a ranch in West Texas watching her mother and grandmother cooking on wood fired stoves.  My mother-in-law remembers her grandmother getting up every morning and starting the fire and making biscuits and gravy without fail.  They would eat a large breakfast and Grandpa would take biscuits wrapped in a handkerchief with him for lunch while he was out working on the ranch. 
     My husband received from his grandmother a cast iron pan with this recipe for milk gravy taped inside for Christmas one year.  It is a real treasure to have her handwritten recipe, and the square cast iron pan is my favorite to bake biscuits in.

Great-grandfather, Tommie, mother-in-law at the ranch house where daily biscuits and gravy were made.
Chicken Fried Steak with Milk Gravy

4 cube steaks
¾ cup flour
¾ cup panko or white bread crumbs dried or fresh
Dash of cayenne if desired
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
½ cup milk
Additional ½ cup plus more, if needed, for dredging meat
Oil for frying.

In a shallow dish or a plastic bag, mix flour, panko or bread crumbs, cayenne, salt and pepper.
In a shallow bowl, whip egg and milk together.
On a separate plate put ½ cup of plain flour.
Dredge cube steak in plain flour, covering both sides, shaking off excess flour.
Put the floured cube steak in the egg bath, careful not to make too soggy, let excess egg mixture drip off.
Coat cube steak with the flour and panko mixture, making sure it is covered well.
Repeat with all the steaks, adding more flour as needed.
Heat a large heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add ¼ to ½ cup oil.  Heat to very hot.  Fry each cube steak until golden brown of each side over a high heat (if you fry with lower heat, the meat and coating becomes very greasy).
Remove the cube steaks carefully with a thin metal spatula so not to tear off the coating.
Transfer to a sheet pan and place in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven until the gravy is done.

Milk Gravy

2 cups of milk
2 ½ tablespoons of oil
2 heaping tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper to taste

After the meat is done, drain off excess oil leaving 2 ½ tablespoons of oil. 
Heat pan over medium heat, and add flour and mix together with the oil forming a roux.
Brown roux stirring up brown bits as you stir.
Slowly whisk in milk stirring constantly while mixture thickens. 
Bring to a boil and boil gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add more milk if too thick.
Remove from heat.

The milk gravy thickens as it stands. Whisk in more milk over medium heat until the desired consistency is reached.

Biscuit Recipe




Ranch house on rocks
Ranch Living



Bonnie Murray said...

Now, this is a great story to go along with your chicken fried steak dish. Plus, I like the old pictures of "ranch life". I have to say I have only made this dish once, but Mark enjoys this dish immensely.

Wendy said...

Thanks, it is not a dish I make weekly but I make it every few months. I enjoyed the story as well. It is hard to imagine that living rustic was not too too long ago and by necessity rather than choice (I am referring to the resurgence in home canning, chicken raising, butchering, hunting subsistence vs. trophy, gardening, etc.). Working that hard required food such as this!