From most references, the history of this recipe originated somewhere in Texas during the Depression Era. Other accounts indicate that it came from the German people who settled in the Lone Star state around 1844-50.
The first written reference to “chicken-fried steak” appeared around 1952. This is an entirely-Southern inspired dish which is very economical to prepare. Serve with mashed potatoes and grilled corn-on-the-cob. Enjoy!
1/3 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 stick real butter
2 lb. tenderized round steak
Meat tenderizer to coat steak
1 cup all-purpose flour for dredge (reserve 3 tbs. after for gravy)
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp. salt (or Lawry’s seasoned salt), to taste
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups milk, warmed to room temperature
1 small onion, cut in rings
Dash of Worchestershire sauce
Put the flour, corn starch, garlic powder, salt cayenne and black pepper in a shallow dish reserved for dredging the meat. Mix well.
Beat the four eggs and place in another shallow dish large enough to coat each side of the steaks.
Round steak by nature is a slightly tougher cut of meat. Try to buy round steak that has been run through a tenderizer by your butcher. If this is not possible, you can use a meat mallet and pound each side. If the steaks are large, cut each in half. Sprinkle both sides with meat tenderizer and set aside on a plate and allow to warm up to room temperature.
Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet (please, no other skillet will produce the same results with this recipe) to medium heat and lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil.
Dredge the steaks in flour, then the egg (ensuring that they are evenly coated) then back into the flour and place in the skillet with enough vegetable oil or butter to just coat the bottom surface. Increase heat to medium high and brown each side about 4-5 minutes. Work in batches, cooking two steaks at a time. Add more butter or oil if needed. Fry the sliced onion until lightly carmelized.
If the heat is too high, the batter will come off the steaks. Turning them only once will ensure the batter sticks.
When steaks and onion are done, remove from skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and reserve in a heated covered baking dish or dutch oven placed in your oven at 275 degrees.
FOR THE WHITE GRAVY:
In the same skillet, reserve three tbs. of the pan drippings. Add three tbs. of the reserved seasoned flour and three tbs of butter. Stir with a spatula until mixed. Add the milk and a dash of worchestershire sauce.
Increase heat and bring gravy to a low simmer, stirring constantly to deglaze the skillet. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. When thickened, transfer the gravy to a serving dish.
When ready, spoon gravy over steak and mashed potatoes.
NOTE: For more flavor, add a small amount of rendered bacon fat to the pan when frying the steaks. It will create a richer gravy.