Phew! My summer book release tour is almost over, just one last signing in Destin FL on Thursday with Jennifer Robins, author of Down South Paleo. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been traveling every weekend since June, only to return to work each week. It was a lot of fun to go out and meet so many nice folks, but I’m really looking forward to having a weekend off; I already have a hefty list of new recipes I’d like to tackle!
Since I still have cookbooks on the brain, I wanted to share my take on Chicken Fried Steak; folks who already own my first cookbook, The Ancestral Table, should recognize this recipe.
Also known as Country Fried Steak (or CFS), Chicken Fried Steak is a staple of Southern cuisine in the United States. Since its name stems from the fact that it is prepared like Fried Chicken, this dish is usually associated with Southern cuisine. But it wasn’t born exclusively in the South. German and Austrian immigrants arrived in Texas during the 1800s, and wanted to create one of their favorite foods, Schnitzel, but had a hard time finding pork. Instead, they used beef, since it was in abundance, and CFS as we know it today was born. I love the fact that it’s a mixture of Old World and New World cuisines.
Chicken Fried Steak is a great meal for those on a budget, as cube steak (sometimes called minute steak) is generally easy to find and very cheap. If cube steak is unavailable in your area, you can make your own using thin round steaks and a blade meat tenderizer (also, your local butcher can usually prepare cube steak if you ask nicely).
For today’s recipe I wanted to highlight a product that I’ve been watching for a while: shelf-stable beef bone broth from Bone Broths Co. As far as I can tell, this is the first 100% grass-fed and organic bone broth that doesn’t need to be shipped frozen (in fact, it’s never frozen). I think the convenience of having high quality broth that doesn’t take up valuable freezer space (or cost an arm and leg in shipping) is pretty revolutionary, so I hope their product really takes off. They sent me an early sample of the broth, and it’s full-flavored and very tasty – it works perfectly in homestyle dishes like this CFS recipe.
Chicken Fried Steak (Gluten-free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet, Whole30-friendly)
1/2 cup white rice flour (coconut flour or cassava flour okay)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper, divided
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 lbs cube steak
1/4 cup lard or coconut oil
1. In a large pan or shallow bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and half of the pepper. In a like-sized pan or bowl, place the beaten eggs. In a third like-sized pan or bowl, combine the other half of the pepper with the starches. Gently pound the cube steak to an even thickness, about 1/4″; slice into pieces the size of large steaks.
2. Dredge the steaks in the rice flour mixture, then the eggs, then the starch mixture, shaking off the excess as you go. Reserve 3 tbsp of the rice flour mixture (for making gravy later).
3. Preheat the oven to 170°F. Heat the lard or coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the steaks and fry in batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Place the cooked steaks on a wire rack supported by a baking sheet, then place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the others. Add more lard or coconut oil as needed while frying.
4. Remove everything but the browned bits at the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and melt the butter in the skillet. Stir in the reserved rice flour mixture and toast until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beef broth and thyme and continue to stir as it thickens, about 2 minutes (add more broth if it gets too thick). Gently scrape up any browned pieces into the gravy. Once it has thickened, stir in the cream and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve the gravy over the steaks.
** This dish goes well with Mashed Potatoes (or Mashed White Sweet Potatoes).