This is total comfort food. It’s not healthy, fat-free or even nutritious. But what it is is utterly and completely delicious. You can smother the gravy on biscuits, mashed potatoes or the perennially local favorite, rice. It’s like tasting a little bit of heaven.
Chicken Fried Steak
3 pounds cube steak
1 ½ cup whole milk, plus up to 2 cups for gravy
2 whole large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoons cayenne
Lots of black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Salt and pepper
Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat: milk mixed with egg in one; flour mixed with spices in one; meat in one; then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
Work one piece of meat at a time. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and then dip in the milk/egg mixture. Next, place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour. Turn to coat thoroughly. Place the meat back into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Place back in the flour and turn to coat. Place breaded meat on the clean plate, and then repeat with remaining meat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. Cook meat, three pieces at a time, until edges start to look golden brown; around 2 to 2 1/2 minutes each side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.
For the Gravy:
After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.