For most cooks this is standard fare, but as I stepped into the kitchen to prepare supper, it occurred to me that everyone is not a seasoned cook and perhaps someone needs to know how to cook cubed steak or country fried steak, as we call it around here.
It’s very easy and even a beginner cook can make her husband swoon when he walks in the door. I remember reading The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan, years go when I first married. She suggested if you were running late getting supper started to place an onion in the oven and turning it on. The fragrance of the cooking onion would permeate the house and when your husband got home he would think you had some delightful dish awaiting him in the kitchen. He’d be very happy to wait until whatever that amazing aroma belonged to was on the table. That would give you ample time to get something cooked.
I don’t know that I ever did that exactly, but it was a cute idea.
But for tonight, I’m cooking Country Fried Steak with Onion Gravy. That should say ‘smothered in onion gravy’, because that’s what it is. Or you may call it cubed steak. It’s a tougher cut of meat. The good part about it is that it’s a fairly inexpensive, but because it’s tough, you have to cook it longer to make it tender. But that’s where the delicious gravy comes from, so it’s a wonderful trade off.
Begin by salting and peppering your meat on both sides. Then dust it completely with flour. Both sides. I left one of my pieces large and cut the other into 3 pieces. I figure my husband will want the large one and I will have a smaller piece, leaving more if he was seconds.
Place about 4 Tablespoons of Crisco shortening (not oil) in a shallow pan and heat on medium heat until shortening is melted and hot, but not smoking. If it begins to smoke, remove from heat and allow a couple of minutes to cool. Lower temperature on stove.
Brown well on both sides over medium heat, but be careful not to burn.
Drain on paper towel. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of grease, but reserve all the little bits of flour on bottom of the pan.
To this grease and browned bits, add 4 tablespoons of flour.
Blend with a fork, until smooth.
Place meat in pan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. You may adjust seasonings later.
Arrange onion over top of meat. This will be very watery, but not for long….. 😉
Simmer over medium low heat for about 45 minutes. Don’t cover pan. You want the liquid to reduce to make gravy and not to boil over, so leave it uncovered. Simmer slowly.
You will need to run a spatula under the meat a few times to be sure it’s not sticking. It will stick more easily as it thickens, toward the end of cooking, so watch it then, especially.
After about 45 minuted you will have tender country fried steak with the most delicious onion gravy. Adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) as needed.
If for some reason you think it should cook longer …maybe it cooked down too fast or you don’t think the meat is tender enough, simply add about 1 cup of water, stir to loosen from sticking to pan, lower heat and cook until gravy is thickened. If you do this, you will want to watch it closely as it cooks.
Serve gravy over mashed potatoes, rice or biscuits. Enjoy!