With the turning of the leaves it seems the craving for old-fashioned comfort food surfaces once again.
Country Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy is definitely not low calorie but it does satisfy the craving. And it's rather budget conscious, too. The crispy coating around the tender meat and the rich, dark mushroom gravy reminds me of dinner around the family table while growing up.
You can adjust the proportions to the number you are feeding; exact measurements aren't necessary, it's not a science just a method. Here's how Mom taught me to make it, although she would make pan mushroom gravy, I take a short-cut and use a mix. Happily, I think Mom would approve.
Country Style Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Tenderized Beef Steak (Round Steak, Cube Steak, etc.) You can find these at the grocery store or butcher's counter. If your meat is not tenderized, pound it with a kitchen mallet designed for this purpose. The cut of meat used for this dish is tough, for the quick cooking method here, the meat does need to be tenderized.
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder if desired
Oil for pan frying
Mushrooms, sliced (as many or few as you wish; I like lots!)
Butter & oil
A little wine for deglazing
Shortcut ingredient: Pouch of Brown or Mushroom Gravy (Knorr is a reliable brand)
Rather than pan gravy as mom used to do, I use a quality gravy mix. I prepare the gravy beforehand, and keep it warm while frying the steaks. First saute the sliced mushrooms over medium high heat in a bit of butter and oil (equal amounts), and minced garlic, add salt and pepper, stir occasionally so mushrooms don't burn. When they are done to your liking add about 1/4 cup dry wine (if using) to deglaze the pan. Allow liquid to reduce a bit. Remove from heat, add gravy mix to the pan the mushrooms are in and proceed to make gravy as directed on the package. I always add just a little less water than indicated, and also finish the gravy with a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the favor. Keep gravy warm while you cook the meat:
If the steaks are not already cut into individual size portions do so, making sure you are using tenderized (pounded) steaks.
Coat the meat before frying as follows:
Place a cup or so of all-purpose flour in a shallow dish or pie pan, season the flour very generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, add garlic powder if you like.
In another shallow dish or pie pan place one or two beaten eggs .
Heat about 1/4 inch of cooking oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat (cast iron skillet is ideal). While oil is heating lightly season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper. Dip each piece of meat (both sides) in the pan of flour. Gently shake off excess flour then dip in beaten egg (both sides of meat). Allow excess egg to drip off and dip meat again in flour mixture, pressing gently so flour will adhere. Repeat with each piece of steak.
Carefully place each piece of meat in the hot oil, without crowding (cook in batches if necessary, adding more oil as needed.) If meat begins to brown too quickly reduce flame/heat to medium. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and coating is nicely golden brown.
As each piece is done place on a platter or baking pan which has been lined with paper towels, or a rack to allow excess oil to drain. Place in a warm oven to hold until all meat is cooked.
To serve: Have warm plates ready, place a pool of hot mushroom gravy on each plate, place steak on the gravy and top with a little more mushroom gravy if desired.
This time I served it with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and just-tender steamed broccoli.
Once again the desire for old-fashioned comfort food has been satisfied, it will be a while before the craving returns.