Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cubed Steak and Gravy

When I was thinking of things to make this week I was shopping my freezer.  I have found that I tend to plan meals and go to the store for items I need even though I have a stocked freezer.  I decided this week I would plan my entire week based on things I already have on hand.  I saw the cubed steaks first and knew I would make cubed steaks and gravy.  I never used a recipe for this dish because I have just always know how to make them, but I started thinking that some non southern girl out there might need this information so here goes.

First start with a package of cubed steak.  I usually get a 4 or 6 pack of them but you can find larger packages at Sam's Club or Costco and divide and freeze them.

Fill a large skillet with 1/2 inch of so of canola or vegetable oil and allow it to heat while you flour each steak.  Using self rising flour fill a pie plate or other dish and make sure you cover every nook and cranny with flour.  Gently place each steak in the oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  The most important step is to now cover with a lid while cooking on medium heat.  Luckily mine is clear so I can see inside, but if yours isn't make sure you don't turn them too soon.  The goal is to allow the heat and steam to make these wonderful little bubbled areas on the side you can see while it is browning the side on the bottom.  When it appears both of those things have taken place you can use a spatula and gently turn them over to repeat the process.

Again the steam allows the side that already cooked to "ruffle" a little and make the yummy crust.  I try to limit my turning to this one time, so I don't lose any crumbs.  I also think it makes for a more tender steak.  Carefully transfer to a dish with paper towels to soak excess oil while you prepare gravy.

With the drippings (aka leftover oil) still in the pan sprinkle 2-3 heaping tablespoons of self rising flour in pan and stir to combine with oil.  This is called making a "roux" in case you like to know the technical terms.  I season at this step with salt and pepper and get the milk out of the fridge.  You want this to look like the color of peanut butter before adding milk, but you don't want to scorch it.

At this point I add my milk.  This is the tricky part because I have never measured, but I think it is about 1 1/2 - 2 cups while stirring constantly with a whisk.  I also add a dash of Worstershire sauce for flavor.  Now keep stirring until it begins to thicken.  (It WILL thicken a little more after you remove from heat to don't let it get too thick before you take it off the burner.) 

The end product should look something like this. 

Some folks also call this chicken fried steak and there are many variations, but this is how I have always done it.  I personally serve the steak and gravy separate because my picky husband doesn't like gravy.  He has even been known to make these wonderful cubed steaks into a sandwich! 

I hope you enjoy.  I usually serve them with mashed potatoes covered in this gravy and green beans. 
Note- this is the basic formula for making gravy from any "drippings", i.e. pork chops, chicken, bacon, even hamburger meat.

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