Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cooking: Chicken Fried Steak w/ Cheesy Grits

Over the weekend, I lost a bet in Wii Bowling to Justyn. I was doing so well until he came home and started betting me. I guess I really don't do well under pressure. Since I lost, Justyn won 4 home cooked meals. It was supposed to be healthy lunches, but it's easier to cook dinner. I get up way to early and get too lazy to make lunch.

I was being uncreative so he suggested that I make something with cube steak. When foodies hear cube steak, they automatically think what else? None other than Chicken Fried Steak. Alright, that's easy enough but you can't eat that without sides. I decided to make Cheesy Grits and my special green beans. (Recipes are posted at the bottom of this post)

I'd like to think I learned to cook everything at the same time, but you'll see I was wrong. You know, that pressure thing.

After dredging the S&P'ed cube steaks through the dry dredge, wet dredge and dry once more it was time to fry these puppies up.

OK, the oil wasn't hot enough even though I saw ripples and slight smokeage. It heated up quickly since I turned to knob up so I set the timer to 10 minutes. At about 8 minutes, I added water to two other pots to blanch my green beans and cook the grits. So far so good.

At 9 minutes, I decided the steaks were ready to be flipped. Look at the lovely deep golden brown!

The steaks needed to cook on the other side for another 4-5 minutes which was perfect because my water was boiling in the pot for green beans. I added them to the boiling water and watched the timer count down, all the while keeping an eye on the water for the grits.

2 minutes left on the counter and the water for the grits was boiling so I added 3/4 cup of grits to the water. I stirred that so they wouldn't clump up. I'm doing great right? Well now that I had three burners with three different things going on, I started to get confused. The steaks were done and I took them off and set them on a couple racks on top of a cookie sheet. I put them in a 225 degree oven to keep them warm. Next thing I had to do was stir the grits, grate the pepperjack cheese that goes with it, drain my green beans, saute them OMG. It was just a whirlwind of activity. I felt bad that I had to call for Justyn's help.

He helped me grate the cheese and get everything back under control.. 3 separate times! I drained a bit of the oil in which the steaks were frying in and made a roux with it. Then salt and pepper goes in and then 4 cups of milk. I thought that was a lot of milk to add into the pan just to make a sauce, but trust me, you do need all 4 cups. My gravy came out a little thick but it was really good.

Justyn put the cheese into the grits and stirred it around until everything had melted. My green beans needed to be sauteed and I had asked Justyn to put them into the pot after he drained them. I left the burner on so a couple green beans got burnt. Can it get any worse? Nah, with his help I went through the rest of the steps to get dinner on the table.

I wish I had taken a picture of the aftermath I left in the kitchen. It looked like someone had thrown a bucket of milk all over the stove, pots and pans were piled up getting crusty which would make for a difficult clean up. I normally like to keep my kitchen clean while I'm working, but I really didn't have the time to do that this time.

Anyway, who has time to worry about cleaning when dinner's ready?!

Talk about not being able to survive under pressure right? Well, it was worth it. Justyn absolutely loved it which is more to me than anything else. I thought the meat itself was a little tough and should've been cooked for longer, but all the flavors were there. If you decide to make the grits, I recommend you use white cheddar like the recipe says. The pepperjack really didn't do it for me, either that or I added too much scallion.

My Special Green Beans

1 lb. green beans trimmed and washed
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. chili flake (or more if you like it spicy)
2 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

1) Blanch green beans in boiling water for 4-5 minutes
2) Drain and leave in colander
3) In the pot you blanched the green beans, add butter
4) Once the butter has melted, add chili flake and garlic powder
5) Add salt and pepper to taste
6) Add drained green beans and saute for a couple minutes until they've softened up a bit.
7) Plate and serve!

Chicken Fried Steak Recipe:

Cheesy Grits Recipe:

Now I gotta figure out what's for dinner tonight. Something easier and little more healthy, I think!

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