After a year on his own and venturing in to cooking lots of different things Sam decided he was ready to learn to cook his all-time favorite food…chicken fried steak! It wasn’t long after he started eating real food that he decided this was his preferred meal. He would request it for most special meals year after year. I even served it at his 21st birthday this year and talked the cutest bride and groom that I was working with into having it at their wedding reception. The menu never changes when it’s chicken fry…mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken fried steak (cut into small strip like pieces), green peas and biscuits.
Honestly, I’ve cooked this meal so many times I could do it in my sleep, so when he requested to have a lesson on cooking chicken fry, I wasn’t sure where to begin, and I wasn’t quite sure he was ready to fry. We talked about it for several days. Sam was sure he could do it, and we should take our cooking on location. For days, I received texts with links to cooking shows followed by his ideas. How could I say no? I’m thankful for a sweet friend that will share her ranch with us (especially if she gets to stay for dinner). It was the absolute perfect evening at the Silverado Ranch. The weather and wildflowers were beautiful! Everyone agreed after dinner that it was the best ever! I think it was the beautiful surroundings, not anything different that we did. Sam is sure it was his special touch.
There is nothing fancy or special about this recipe. It’s just one that we love and brings so many sweet memories of fun times with special people to mind. You see, Sam isn’t the only one that requests it! I’ve made it on many requests for dear friends. Yes, it smells up the house, but the smell is delicious. Yes, it makes a mess, but it’s not that bad to clean up. And, yes, it isn’t all that healthy, but surely every once in a while, it’s okay. If you are looking for something that is sure to bring smiles, give chicken fry a try. Don’t let the process intimidate you. Pour yourself a glass of wine and let the cooking fun begin!
Sam’s Chicken Fry
Tenderized cube steak – cut into strips
Salt, pepper and garlic powder
Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Soak in milk for a couple of hours.
For the breading/crust, pour 2 to 2 ½ cups of flour in a shallow dish. Season with salt, pepper and Cavender’s seasoning. Dredge each steak piece in the flour mixture, return to milk and return to flour. Heat your oil in a cast iron skillet (my test for when it’s hot enough is when I drop a tiny bit of water in it and it crackles – this is what my mom always did). If the oil is just right, the chicken fry will begin browning perfectly right away. I turn mine the minute the edges start turning brown. We like it crispy and crunchy. I probably let each piece cook on each side 3-5 minutes depending on how hot the oil is. The key to it is just watching it! Drain the fried pieces on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with coarse salt. Keep it warm! After frying all of the meat, I discard most of the oil and stir in flour, seasonings, and milk for the yummiest gravy.
As I mentioned before, we ALWAYS serve it with mashed potatoes. Sam always does the peeling and the mashing for these, so we didn’t have to have that lesson!
By Nancy Roberts
Photos By Emily Brown, Fluffy Rhino Photography