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Texas-Style Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

It is hard to get much more Texan than Chicken Fried Steak. Quality of the beef really counts in this dish. This recipe calls for cube steaks, but good round steak that you have asked the butcher to run through the tenderizer or that you have tenderized yourself with a mallet (no big deal and can be a real stress reliever) can be even better. Lots of people deep fry chicken fried steak, but I believe pan-frying produces a better steak. Your end result should be a tender steak with a coating that's golden and crispy.
  • 4 tenderized beef cutlets (known in supermarkets as "cube steak") OR 1 round steak, with fat removed, that you've tenderized yourself (see above)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour for dredging
  • cooking oil or melted Crisco
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Beat together the egg and milk and pour into a pie pan or other flat pan; set aside. Mix together the salt, black pepper and white pepper and sprinkle on both sides of beef cutlets.

Put the flour in a pie pan or other flat pan. Dredge each cutlet in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip each cutlet in the egg/milk mixture, then back in the flour. (You're going to get your hands messy here, so take your rings off.) Set cutlets aside on a piece of waxed paper.

Heat the cooking oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Oil should be a little less than a half-inch deep in the pan. Check the temperature with a drop of water; if it pops and spits back at you, it's ready.

With a long-handled fork, carefully place each cutlet into the hot oil. Protect yourself (and your kitchen) from the popping grease that results. Fry cutlets on both sides, turning once, until golden brown. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 4 or 5 minutes until cutlets are done through. Remove cover from pan during last few minutes of cooking. Drain cutlets on paper towels. Makes 4 servings.

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 20-25 minutes; Total time: 40-45 minutes

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Cream Gravy

After the cutlets are removed from the pan, pour off the pan drippings, reserving 2 tablespoons. Keep as many as possible of the browned bits in the pan. Return the reserved oil to the skillet, and heat oil over medium-high heat until hot.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour (use the left-over flour from the chicken fried steak recipe) in the hot oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon, quickly, to brown the flour and form a roux.

Gradually stir 1-1/2 cups milk into the roux, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon, mashing out any lumps, and bring to a boil. Continue stirring a few minutes as gravy thickens and reaches desired thickness. Check seasonings and add ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Note to Cream Gravy novices: Gravy-making is an inexact science. Cream gravy is supposed to be thick, but if you think it's too thick, add more milk, a little at a time, until you're satisfied with it.

The serving dishes in our photograph are Fiesta dinnerware.

Kitchen tools you'll need: Meat Mallet and Marble Board, Mixing Bowls, Skillet
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