Begin with a good-sized hunk of round steak, the steak should be at least ½ inch thick. Cut the steak into serving-sized pieces.
Now the fun begins. I use a method of tenderizing the meat passed on of the meat with tiny, diamond-shaped patterns (like you'd use to score the fat on a ham, but make the diamonds only about ¼ inch long.) Do this to both sides of the meat. Then pound the heck out of the meat using the heaviest implement you can find (a heavy saucer, the handle of a BIG knife or — my personal favorite — a clean claw hammer).
The meat should be pounded until it almost, but not quite, gives up and falls to pieces.
Now mix up a quantity of seasoned flour (salt, pepper, maybe some paprika and garlic powder). Also beat a couple of whole eggs with a couple of tablespoons of water.
Dip the pounded meat first in the flour, then in the egg, then back in the flour. For a really crisp crust, dip again in the egg, and back in the flour (this is optional, but I almost always do it, to me, the crust is the best part of the dish). Allow the breaded meat to sit for a few minutes to set up the breading.
Melt some oil, bacon grease or lard in a heavy frying pan. Use enough to cover the pan to the depth of ¼ inch. When the fat is hot, but not smoking, place some of the meat in the pan. Do not overcrowd, and do not allow the individual pieces of steak to touch.
Cook on one side until nicely browned, turn and cook the second side. Remove the cooked steak to a warm place, and continue cooking the remainder until all is done. Add more fat to the pan as needed.
Add 2 Tbsp. of flour to every 2 Tbsp. of fat left in the pan (stir to scrape up the little browned, crispy bits that are sticking to the pan, too). Cook this mixture briefly to get rid of the raw flour taste, but do not allow it to brown. Stir in milk (about 1 cup to each 2 Tbsp. of flour) to make a gravy. Season to taste with salt, black pepper (lots of black pepper), and serve gravy of the meat and the mashed potatoes you're going to serve on the side.
Kathy in Bryan, TX
Your Chicken Fried Steak ( Kathy Pitts ) is ready. Buon appetito!
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