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Chicken-fried Steak Made to Your Tastes

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Chicken Fried SteakPlaywright, novelist and poet Ntozake Shange remembers her very first chicken-fried steak, which she had in Amarillo in June of 1974. “I was totally unprepared for chicken-fried steak,” she writes in “If I Can Cook/You Know God Can.” “All I knew about was chicken fried like chicken or fish fried like fish, but not one animal fried like another kind of animal.” Yet she fell in love with the dish and made it her own. Her recipe is not traditional in that you measure out certain proportions of ingredients. You just follow her lead and make it to your taste:

Chicken-fried Steak

[amazon-product]0807072419[/amazon-product]”I believe in using choice pieces of meat, though that’s not always possible or necessary. Anyway, with a decent piece of sirloin steak that’s been tenderized by piercing with a fork or pounding, cut vertical slits in the rim of fat along the edge so your meat won’t curl up. If you want to be really fancy, this meat can be marinated in Worcestershire sauce, red wine or a mesquite-tinged hot sauce. Meanwhile, fix a batter of milk, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Dredge your meat on both sides in the batter (then cook) in a thick-bottom frying pan, the old-fashioned kind, I guess. Your oil should be hot so that a sprinkle of water sizzles. The same problem that confronts you when you are frying chicken appears here. We don’t want the crust of the meat to brown too quickly, before the meat is done. That requires you to mediate the range of the fire ‘neath your pan with some focus. I like my meat rare, so my steak is in and out as soon as the crust is a fine brown. I don’t know what to tell you if you want your meat well done. I imagine you’ll be at the stove a bit longer.”

From “If I Can Cook/You Know God Can” by Ntozake Shange

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