This is chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and "cream" gravy. It's a Texan staple, and is ridiculously bad-delicious, and was our dinner (supper, in some pockets of the state) tonight. Can I tell you more?

I'm bad at recipes because I change them, so let me just tell you that if you need a step-by-step, The Homesick Texan's recipe is damned close. But, if your Aunt Kanye was teaching you to make this, and I am, then you're going to need a drink, some beef (more on that in a second), oil, shortening or lard (shh, babies, it's ok, lard is beautiful) flour, salt, black & cayenne pepper, eggs or buttermilk, milk (at least 2%), potatoes, and butter. That's it. Vegetables are completely negotiable with this meal. Because it's bad for you, and arugula isn't going to help.

Look for round steak at the grocery store - it's generally cheap, flat, and gnarled with gristle and fat on the outside. Ignore, buy anyway. When you get it home, trim the fat from the edges, cut the round steak into pieces roughly the size of your palm and trim any noticeable gristle away. And never say gristle again, because it's a nasty word, ok?

Now, you know that thing you bought once because it looked badass and medieval scary cool? Yes, this thing:

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which you can find on Amazon for less than $10, Prime member or not. Get ready, because shit's about to get fun. The best way I've found to tenderize round steak using this thing is with a total disregard to hygiene. I'm sorry, but it's true. People will tell you to put your meat between layers of plastic wrap, or in a ziploc (which is passable, but...), but the problem is that those little sharp tines? They're sharp. And will shred plastic into your meat, and, uh, no. So just put your meat on one of those awesome silicone cutting boards I've talked about before, and pound the fuck out of it. It's right when you literally have miniscule pieces of moist meat flying around your kitchen. This is a really good time to have a dog, but you can't buy that on Amazon so we're not going to discuss that right now. But get a dog, ok? Because otherwise you're going to be stepping on bits of meat and you're going to blame me but I fucking told you to get a dog. And don't say moist, either. Gross.

You've pounded your beef, so give it a little love now, in the way of salt and pepper.

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Now, because I've learned some things, I'm willing to share some things. One of the only things that truly let me know I was a grownup was owning my very own cast iron skillet. I'm Texan, ok? This is rite of passage stuff. But you're reading this, and want to cook some comfort food, so you need to pass this rite as well. Amazon's gotcha for the badass 12" at less than $20:

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Buy it. You're going to love it. It's pre-seasoned, meaning you can just take it out of the box, give it a rinse and swipe with a towel and you're good to go. So now that you're a certified grownass foodie/Texan, plop about 3/4 cup of shortening, lard or vegetable oil (wimp) into the pan. You'll actually need enough so that when it's melted it comes up just less than 1/2" up the side of the pan. Heat on medium heat until ready to cook - then turn it up to medium high.

In a medium sized, I dunno, medium sized thing, put about a cup and a half of flour, then sprinkle black pepper over the flour until pepper covers the flour, then salt to cover the pepper, then more cayenne than salt. Basically, you want a heavily seasoned flour, and this is a good way to get that.

Now your oil will be hot enough to proceed, so it's time to bring it to medium high. Now cut potatoes into large chunks (technical term - about 1 1/2" pieces) and place in a pot with enough heavily salted water to cover. This is a good time to revisit my other Three Things From Amazon post, because you want the pot I mentioned there. Set your oven (or phone) timer to 20 minutes and turn the potatoes on high.

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Dredge your steak in a basic egg wash (or plain buttermilk) - just a couple of eggs, whisked a bit - then dip in seasoned flour and carefully place in hot oil, reserving the flour. You know what's awesome for this? My third thing - these fucking tongs are SEX. I'm not playing, they're the best thing I own right now. I have both the rounded and the pointy, and fucking LOVE them. No matter what today's price is, they're the fucking best. See that little ring at the end? It slides in or out and locks them open or closed. God, they're so good I want to.. nevermind.

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OK, so now you've got sizzling meat, which you're going to watch like a hawk, because OMG when they're perfectly golden brown on one side, you're going to turn them. So, not rocket science at all, just food. That gets flipped when pretty on one side. Cook til pretty on the other. The beauty of tenderized beef is that it really only takes a few minutes per side to cook thoroughly.

When they appear purty on both sides, remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Babies, don't be scared, but you're going to make gravy now. Cream or "white" gravy. It's easy, I swear. Pour off almost all of the fat from your pan, reserving all possible browned bits, leaving a very thin layer of fat. Sprinkle enough of your reserved flour into the pan to lightly cover the oil/fat, and immediately whisk with a whip over medium heat. (Did you know that they aren't whisks? They're totally not, they're whips, so now you know.) You're going for a 50/50 fat to flour ratio, so when you stir it's not big clumps of flour but not liquid either. It's tricky. Your first attempt may fail. Chill, it's just food, and your first try may not pan out. Now, add about 2 cups of milk (I know, it's a lot) and whisk, stirring continually until thickened, for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper (probably more salt than you expected).

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By this time your potatoes should be cooked and tender, so drain, mash with a cheapo potato masher, add some butter, s&p and a little milk, and serve with your perfectly bad comfort food.

Oh, remember my title? I honestly lose weight when I cook either this or fried chicken. I think it's because a) it's a lot of fucking work, or b)more calories equals "oh my god, I'm not starving? spend calories!!"

Enjoy in moderation, of course, but if you've never tried CFS, TRY IT.