Regional food cuisine and local food traditions are things that nearly everyone connects with. Local dishes will trigger food memories from childhood and transport you back to a place and time in your life. Regional food tells a story of what we eat and why. Recipes handed down from generation to generation tell wonderful tales of our past cooking trends and culinary fads.
The month of February is dedicated to American Regional Cuisine and the flavors and traditions of home!
Did you know that according to the US Census Bureau, there are 4 official statistical regions of the US and nine divisions within these areas?
This week, we take a look at the West/South Central region of the South which consists of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Many dishes from this region are heavily influenced by Native Americans. One of my favorite dishes of all time is Chicken Fried Steak which is very popular in Oklahoma and Texas.
Chicken Fried Steak
4 1/4 pound cube steaks
salt and pepper, to season steaks
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (maybe a bit more or less)
2 tablespoons pan drippings
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup half and half
1 3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of grated fresh nutmeg
Preheat oven to 200F and place a cookie sheet with a rack in the oven. This will keep the steak warm as you make the gravy.
Season the cube steaks with salt and pepper and let set to room temperature as you prepare the batter.
Mix together the flour, Kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. I like to place my flour mixture in a large zip lock bag.
In a shallow dish whisk together the eggs and milk.
Working one at a time, dredge the steak into the flour mixture. Shake off the excess mix and place the steak into the egg wash, coating it on both sides. Shake off the excess egg wash then place back into the flour mixture. Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining steaks.
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to cover the bottom by 1/4 inch. Once the oil it hot (350F) lay two steaks into he hot oil. Gently shake the pan a little to wash a bit of the oil over the top of the steak as this will help set the coating.
Fry until you see the edges brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn the steaks over in the pan and fry for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Carefully lift the steaks from the pan one at a time, tipping the steaks slightly to let the excess oil drain off. Place steaks on rack in oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking process with final two steaks.
Next, turn off the heat on the pan and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings, then add butter. Add 3 tablespoons flour and turn the heat back on to medium. Let the flour mixture cook until it browns to a medium tan color, about 3-4 minutes.
Slowly stir in the half and half and milk whisking constantly. Continue to add milk until desired consistency.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Serve steaks topped with gravy and a side of mashed potatoes and a favorite vegetable.