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Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

Serves 4

It was a long time since I had, or tried to make, chicken-fried steak, so I decided to create my own recipe based on what I remembered. From what I read about the dish, it might have originated at truck stops. I remember ordering it at diners in Pennsylvania and my mother and grandmother occasionally made it. Judging from the number and types of recipes I found when researching chicken-fried steak, it is popular in a variety of forms throughout the country. So, although it is not exclusively Pennsylvania Dutch, this is how my family made it. It is a quick, easy and delicious main dish and comfort food.

Ingredients

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Combine the flour, paprika, thyme, garlic powder and additional salt and pepper on a flat plate or waxed paper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat. Dip the steaks first in the flour, then in the egg wash, and in the flour again. Fry until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm (in a 200° F oven if necessary). Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. Add 3 tablespoons of the seasoned flour and stir constantly over medium heat to make a browned roux. Gradually whisk in the milk until gravy is thick and creamy, adding more if a thinner gravy is desired. Taste for seasoning. Use the gravy to top the meat and any side dish of potatoes, noodles or rice.

Variations: For a crispier crust, use crushed cracker crumbs or panko for the final coating. You can make any type of gravy you like. Use beef stock in place of the milk for a brown gravy. Add some dry red wine for a different taste altogether.