Have you ever had one of those dinner’s where you knew how unhealthy it was but you just didn’t care? Living in the country that’s pretty much every meal in a traditional home. One of the more popular country meals aside from the obvious is Chicken Fried Steak. On top of that Chicken Fried Steak is a layer of thick, creamy white gravy we like to call milk gravy. Why do we call it milk gravy? Because it’s white and made with milk, silly!
My family makes this, traditionally, using cube steak. I didn’t have cube steak tonight when John asked for Chicken Fried Steak so I improvised. I did have eye of round steak and a tenderizer. I pounded out the meat until it looked like cube steak and then seasoned it with salt and pepper.
Dipping the steaks into an egg/milk mixture then dredging in a flour & seasoning mixture was step 1. Next up I dipped the coated steak quickly in the egg/milk mixture again and dredged in bread crumbs. From there I fried 2 steaks at a time until done. The gravy is what brings it all together though.
You just can’t have Country Fried Chicken without the milk gravy – there’s legalities and all. Maybe not, but it should be. I know a lot of people are intimidated by making gravy themselves; John still wont try it. But it is so super easy. I’m not just saying that because I can do it – I’m saying it because it’s true.
The secret to gravy is in the drippings. When you’re done frying empty the grease and drippings into a large bowl. Strain the pieces of fried goodness from the drippings and add them back to the pan. Then take about 4 tablespoons of the fat and put it in the pan. Turn the heat up to medium, stir in 1½ cups of milk and bring to a boil.
Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of flour and beat with a whisk until it’s mixed well with no flour lumps. Add another 1 – 2 tablespoons to reach the desired thickness. The gravy will thicken up as you go – if it gets too thick add a little more milk to thin it a bit. Keep stirring it until you’re satisfied.
That’s how easy it is to make gravy – so stop using that canned or pouch crap!
If you ever spent Christmas at my house during the 80’s you’d swear my parents, especially my mother, were Whovillians. From the end of Thanksgiving until the 2nd week of January our house was non-stop Christmas. From the decorations and music to the food and parties. Don’t get me wrong; they were great times but they were intense and some things stuck. Like Roast Beast.
I don’t know what my step-father was thinking, but for the first 15 years of my life he never once said Roast Beef. It was always Roast Beast. And for 15 years that’s what I called it. “What did you have for dinner last night?” “Roast Beast, and it was the best!” I got a few odd stares each time I answered like that but I chalked it up to having some left over in my teeth.
If there’s one good thing that came out of that experience it was the ability to roast the best beast you’ve ever tasted! That’s right; my mom could take the cheapest piece of beef in the store and make it taste like nothing of this world. In fact the cheapest piece of beef makes the best roast beef. It’s usually fatty and offers tons of flavor and juice.
So, how do you go about making the perfect Roast Beef? No, it doesn’t take all day. No, there’s no hard work involved. Yes, it does take around 3 hours. Did I answer your questions? Okay then, moving forward.
To start you need a 2 – 3½ pound piece of beef. This will feed around 5 people – go for a bigger piece if you’re feeding more people. I use an eye round roast.
Next up you need to preheat your oven to 375°. Rub your roast with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder (or you can use garlic cloves – cut 5 – 6 slits into the roast and stuff the cloves in.) I rubbed this one with salt, ground chipotle pepper, ground black pepper and garlic flakes.
Now, I use a roasting pan, but my mom put her roast right on the rack with a pan on the rack underneath to catch the drippings. Whichever you decide to do is fine – placing it right on the rack leads to a more tender roast. Make sure the fat side is up and drizzle some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on the top – this builds a delicious crust on the roast.
Brown the roast at 375° for 30 minutes and then turn the heat down to 200°, or as low as your oven will go. Roast at this low setting for 1 ½ – 2 hours then remove from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent until ready to serve.
That’s it! It’s that easy to make tender, juicy Roast Beef, or Roast Beast if that’s what you prefer.