I seem to be on a cheap beef cuts cooking string. First it was beef shanks at $2.54 a pound. The cube steak for the CFS is $2.31 a pound. And I also purchased some beef neck bones the other day, which I haven’t done anything with yet, for $1.69 a pound. The chicken fried steak was a big hit with us. It was as good or better than any CFS we’ve ever had. I followed a recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I was going to pair the CFS with mash potatoes and roasted garlic or celery root, but my father-in-law stopped by bearing parsnips from his garden. So I opted for a parsnip/potato mix. Corn was the vegetable. We’ve got a bunch of frozen corn my sister Jill gave us last summer. This is corn from one of the fields around Ainsworth; quite possibly our cousin’s, I forgot to ask. When she put it up, it was fresh from the field. If you’ve only had corn from a grocery store, I don’t care if it was on the cob, you’re missing something. Try getting your hands on some corn picked the day you eat it, and you’ll see what I mean.
Chicken Fried Steak
- 4 cube steaks
- cooking oil
Dry coating –
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Wet coating –
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Adjust oven rack to middle position and place baking sheet underneath to catch drips. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. This is where you’re going to put the steaks after they’re fried, to keep warm.
Get your breading mix ready. You’ll need two bowls big enough to dip steaks in, one at a time. In one bowel combine and mix your dry coating: flour, cayenne, black pepper and salt. In the other bowl combine and mix your wet coating: buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder and egg. For a buttermilk substitute, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk.
Place a wire rack on your counter over a cooking sheet. Make sure steaks are dry, blot with a paper towel if needed. Coat steak in flour and shake off access, coat with wet coating and allow access to drip off, put steak back into dry coating and shake of access. Place each steak on wire rack to hold until cooking time.
In your frying pan, add enough cooking oil so that when you place the steaks in, their sides will be half covered. Bring the oil to 375 degrees. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to fry the steak in batches. You don’t want to crowd your pan, causing the oil temperature to drop too low. Cook steak to golden brown on one side, then turn and do the same on the other. When they’re done dab off extra oil with a paper towel and place on oven rack to keep warm.
- 1 medium onion
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Carefully pour oil from your frying pan, leaving 2 tablespoons of the oil and as much of the brown bits as you can. Add thyme and onion, saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, don’t burn. Add flour, stir until well combined with the other ingredients, about a minute. Add chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Add rest of ingredients: milk, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Blend with whisk and bring to a simmer. Stir gravy occasionally until thickened to the consistency you like. The gravy will thicken more as it cools.
Parsnip Mash Potatoes
- 4 pounds potatoes, fingerling or Yukon Gold
- 1 large parsnip, peeled
- 1/8 to 1/2 cup butter, to taste
- 1 cup hot milk, cream or half-and-half
- salt and pepper
Peel potatoes or clean well and leave the skins on. Cut potatoes and parsnip into similarly sized pieces, smaller cooks faster. Put potatoes and parsnips in a pot and add water until it’s half way up the sides of the contents. Cover and gently simmer until tender, start checking around 30 minutes. Place colander over a bowel to reserve the potato water and drain. Mash the potatoes and parsnips in a bowl, adding butter and milk. Continue to mash, adding potato water until the consistency you like is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 can corn or fresh corn kernels if possible,
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper
Drain corn if canned. In a sauce pan, add corn and enough milk to cover bottom 1/4 to 1/2 of the corn. Bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, make sure the liquid doesn’t go dry, and taste kernels. When kernels reach desired tenderness, stir in butter, salt and pepper to taste.