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Tradition Fried Steak

October 7, 2020

There are 27 days until the election.

The vice-presidential debate was tonight and I am going to do my best to not watch it. There just doesn’t seem to be any point. I’m guessing the only thing anyone will remember in five years is that there was a fly on the Vice President’s head – haven’t watched it, but a quick glance at twitter was enough to learn about the fly. Instead of watching the debate I read up on recipes for making Chicken Fried Steak.

With all of the politics you may have forgotten that this thing started out as a cooking blog. I’ve blogged before about my love for Southern cooking and about one of our favorite restaurants in Tokyo, Soul Food House. If you comb the pages of the blog you will even find a reference I made to mimicking Robert Fulghum’s cross country quest to find the diner with the best chicken fried steak in America. It is a meal I grew up eating in school and I was glad to share it a few times with the kids as they grew up, but it was Soul Food House that convinced Michael that this was a meal worth learning how to make.

Before they went off to college I would alternate cooking with Michael and Sarah on most Sundays. We picked one meal each, Mac and Cheese for Sarah and originally Meatloaf for Michael. The repetition worked and even though I will sometimes look at a new meatloaf recipe I can make both of those meals without too much extra thought. Michael was home for a couple extra years after this started so we added Sloppy Joes into the mix. The secret to good Sloppy Joe’s is to add some bacon and to use good BBQ sauce to replace at least half of the ketchup in the recipe.

This tradition/habit died off when the kids went off to school and even though they are both back at home for the Coronamester we didn’t pick it up again. A couple of weeks ago I made blackened catfish for dinner and Michael made the comment that we should have Soul Food meals more often. And here we are.

In case you are not familiar with the dish, Chicken Fried Steak probably has its roots in German schnitzel, a lean cut of steak that is breaded and fried. The city of Lemesa, TX is the purported birthplace of Chicken Fried Steak, “invented” by german settlers. The german settlers part is probably true and while Lemesa does hold an annual Chicken Fried Steak Cook-off (#lifegoals) the part about it being the birthplace is probably a Texas sized lie.

My plan is to try three or four different recipes and then morph things into our own version. That is one of the fun things about trying to master a recipe is that eventually it will become our own recipe. My original thought had been to work on perfecting the fried steak first and work on the gravy next, but is appears that the gravy is an integral part.

  • Given its Texas origins The Ultimate Texas Chicken Fried Steak Recipe from Urban Cowgirl seems like a good one to include. This recipe come’s from the Urban Cowgirl’s grandmother and according to her the secret is using a cast iron skillet. I may spend a little time on Saturday trying to find ours, but it is with the camping gear which is still in a box somewhere in the garage. The secret to the Urban Cowgirl’s gravy is to use evaporated whole milk. I’ve made country gravy a fair number of times, but never with evaporated milk.
  • Our next recipe, The Best Chicken Fried Steak Recipe!, comes from the cooking website Grandbaby Cakes. This recipe sets itself apart by starting with a buttermilk bath that includes Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. You are supposed to soak the steak for at least an hour before cooking. preferably two.
  • I’m going to include this modestly titled recipe for Chicken Fried Steak on Simply Recipes because I want something that is basic for a baseline.
  • And lastly the recipe for Chicken-Fried Steak from one of my physical cookbooks, The Commonsense Kitchen. There is is something about using a paper cookbook that is satisfying and this recipe calls for a fried egg on top. After four years of eating burgers and bar food in Tokyo I have learned that a fried egg over the top makes everything better.

If things go according to plan Michael and I will make one of these recipes this coming Sunday.

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