Chicken Fried Steak is a dish from Texas, described by its fans as an all-in-one heart attack on a plate.
The dish doesn’t have chicken in it at all.
It’s a beef steak pounded thin, dipped in beaten egg mixed with milk, then coated in seasoned flour, and fried in hot oil, lard, shortening or drippings. When the steaks are fried and removed from the pan, you make “Cream Gravy.”
To make Cream Gravy, you leave a couple of tablespoons of the oil or lard in the pan along with the brown bits from the frying. You stir in some flour, let it cook to make a roux, then add milk to make a white sauce, then season with salt and pepper (variations will add a few dashes of hot sauce.)
The Cream Gravy is served over the fried steaks.
The cuts of beef used are generally less-expensive ones such as round, chuck or flank steaks.
Variations can use minute or cubed steak for the meat, buttermilk for the dipping, and seasoned crumbs (bread or cracker) for the coating. The question of which variations should be accepted into Chicken Fried Steak Canon Law may never be settled.
Recipes for it first appeared under the name of “Chicken Fried Steak” in the 1950s, though recipes for breaded cutlets of meat had previously existed of course for centuries.