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Absolutely Positively the Best Chicken Fried Steak in These Here United StatesThis has been posted before but, like Kevin, I sometimes lose track of where it has been posted.Cooking is remarkably simple, yet endlessly complicated.It is as easy as shaking some salt and pepper onto a New York Strip and tossing it on the grill and as complicated as a 14 step Multi-Grain Health Bread.So I wanted to get away and give everyone something they could really dig in to so here goes:During the fall of 1990 I traveled to the south to take a weeklong cooking class at one of America’s leading chef’s test kitchen. There were about 18 of us that battled through a week of ‘secret’ recipes and presentation classes making wonderful dishes from private files.It was just a wonderful week.About 3/4 the way through some of us asked out loud, “Can we have these recipes to take home?”A hush fell across the room.Precisely at that moment the Master Chef entered the classroom for the first time. I was as awed as a teenager standing around the country club swimming pool decorated with shapely adorables.It was the man.In a very low voice The Chef answered the question, “Not only CAN’T you take the recipes, I want you to forget them as you leave this CLASS!”Being true to my word, I drank enough scotch that I didn’t remember a thing.Now about two years ago I found a piece of notebook paper with nearly unreadable scrawls. I have NO IDEA if this recipe came from that class.This is that recipe:Absolutely (Positively) The Best Chicken Fried Steak in These Here United StatesSeasoning Mix
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground Guajillo chile pepper
1 teaspoon ground arbol chile pepper
1 teaspoon ground New Mexico chile pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1 pound beef tenderloin or filet (cut into four slices)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsleyYou know this is going to be great when the first thing ya read is “Take a Beef
Tenderloin” -Combine the seasoning mix thoroughly in a small bowl. Makes about 3 tablespoons.Place your sliced meat on a flat surface and pound each steak with a meat mallet or the edge of a saucer (make sure you keep turning the steak as you pound). It helps loads if you place the meat between sheets of waxed paper. Pound until the pieces are 1/4-inch in thickness.Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon of seasoning mix on each side of steak. Make sure you rub it in with your fingers.Combine 3/4 cup of flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix in a shallow bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients until combined.Whisk together the egg and the milk in a shallow bowl until frothy and a pale yellow.Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until very hot. While oil is heating, dredge the steaks; one-at-a-time, in the seasoned flour, then let them soak a minute or two in the egg mixture. Dredge them in the flour (again) pressing the steaks into the flour to make sure they are coated.Immediately place the steaks in the hot oil and cook, until browned, about 2-3 minutes. YOU DON’T NEED TO TURN THEM IF THE OIL FULLY COVERS THE TOP OF THE STEAK.Remove steaks and place in a preheated 180 degree F oven.Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet, leaving residue juices from the meat and any brown crust that remained on the bottom of the pan. Return pan to hot burner and as soon as the remaining oil starts to sizzle, add the shallots and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.Add all remaining flour to the chicken stock and whisk until fully mixed. Add any remaining seasoning mix to this stock. Pour this into the shallots and continue to whisk to make sure there are no lumps.Add the cream and the parsley and bring to a boil and cook 1 minute . . . always whisk when you add new ingredients.Place the steaks from the oven on a white platter and pour the gravy over the top. Garnish with a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley and two red carnation buds.NOTE: All the ground chile peppers I have listed are readily available in most Latino food sections of major grocery stores. They are sweet spices rather than hot spices.
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