It is my personal mission to find the best chicken fried steak in the country. Whether that means it comes from a small Texas town or I can make it in my own kitchen, pass me a good ol' cube steak fried and smothered in gravy any day. It's not always easy to find the perfect recipe for country fried steak for a few reasons. I've found that many recipes lack a good seasoning in the flour mixture, while others skip the gravy-making altogether. So when I was looking for the best to make at home, I turned to some Pioneer Woman recipes.
The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is known for her easy takes on comfort food, and this chicken fried steak recipe is no different.
For this classic taste of Oklahoma and Texas, you'll need a paper towel-lined plate, kosher salt and black pepper, your favorite cast iron skillet, all-purpose flour, canola oil, and a few more ingredients.
I like to serve chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas to round out this Southern delicacy, though green beans have never steered me wrong, either. You'll feel even more motivated to whip up this whole milk gravy made with seasoned salt, once you taste a bite on your mashed potatoes.
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The tastiest, creamiest, dreamiest mashed potatoes you will ever taste, for reasons that will become obvious when you watch this video. And the very best part: They're make-ahead! Absolutely awesome, and a complete lifesaver on Thanksgiving! I usually make them Wednesday early in the day, then pop them in the fridge and bask in the knowledge that I don't have to tackle the mashed potatoes on the big day! 🥔 ❤️😋
My first tip for serving up this meal is to not be afraid of frying the tenderized round steak or cube steak. You're looking for that golden brown color in the pan, don't pull it out when it's slightly yellow. You don't want to lose that chicken fried crunch, after all. The best way to achieve that deep golden brown color is to turn the heat to medium heat and wait until the vegetable oil is warmed before adding your piece of meat to your large skillet. The easiest way to tell when your oil is ready is to toss a sprinkle of flour in the pan. If it bubbles, you are good to go!
My second tip is to create an assembly line of dishes for your steaks before laying them in the pan. Grab two bowls your steaks fit flat into and reserve one for the egg and milk mixture, and one for the flour mixture. Don't be afraid to go heavy-handed with the seasoned salt and paprika in the flour, I like to add an extra teaspoon cayenne and a dash of garlic powder.
Use one hand for the wet mixture and the other for the dry to make sure you don't coat your hands in layers of batter.