What exactly is chicken fried steak?
I went to college in west Texas and every restaurant had chicken fried steak. I grew up in CT and never heard of such a "concoction." I live in Chicago now and have never seen it here either. So what exactly is chicken fried steak and why is it so popular in some parts of the country.
It is a round steak tenderized in a meat tenderizer or beaten by hand. The meat is then dipped in egg mixture and covered with bread crumbs. I then fry them in a small bit of olive oil and serve with country gravy and mashed potatoes. They can be served with hashbrowns, country gravy and eggs.
Restaurants usually fry the chicken fried steak in butter.
Mljdgulley354 describes it very well.
It's popular in diners and country style restaurants because it is a good way to serve a less than perfect cut of beef. I usually see it deep fried though. There is probably a thousand variations across Texas. (The prime cuts are shipped off to the steak houses that few of us can afford. The gravy is usually a flour thickened mixture made from milk and black pepper. You will find that gravy all across the southern states in one form or another. The vegetables served with it depends on what the diner has available. It's a food that was originally meant for people who have physically demanding jobs. Around Dallas, it's a comfort food that I grew up with.
Chicken fried steak is typically a less expensive cut of steak, that is seasoned and coated like you would prepare chicken. Less expensive cuts of steak often have no flavor, and are tough. Therefore the chicken fried steak is also a thinner cut of steak that is tenderized,
The gravy that accompanies the steak is basically to add a complimenting flavor, which is different by region...some use brown gravy, and some use white gravy. Personally I think it's needed to cover up the steak, because the look of the fried steak, is not as appealing as the look of fried chicken.
Occassionally I do fried cube steak, with gravy, a side of rice, peas and biscuits.
I also live in Illinois, after having lived in the 'Deep South", and you CAN find Chicken Fried Steak in Chicago. Hit up some of the Diners downtown.
I think CFS is pretty universal, although admittedly some parts of the country gravitate more towards poached eggs and bernaise sauce. Which I can't understand at All! lol
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