Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy

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Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy

We would think by now most people in the United States have heard of this Southern favorite dish, Chicken Fried Steak. Living in Texas, this dish is almost as sacred as Texas Chili. So we had to put our own spin on this classic Texas dish. This version of Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy is packed full of flavor and is the ultimate Southern comforting meal!

Where did Chicken Fried Steak Originate?

Chicken-fried steak is purported to originate in Texas and is loosely based on German and Austrian schnitzels that were brought by immigrants to Central Texas. Fried Chicken has pretty much been perfected in the south as well, so taking a cut of beef and frying it like chicken is not a huge leap. Especially in Texas with the abundance of cattle ranches, the evolution of this dish just makes sense to enhance a cheap cut of meat. But this isn’t a history lesson, so let’s get to it. 

Deep Fried or Pan Fried

Let’s do some housekeeping first. I (Mark) have lived most of my life in Texas and have had hundreds of chicken fried steaks. From delightful to dreadful. When I started learning to make this dish a couple of decades ago, nobody ever mentioned “country fried steak” as the name for one that is not deep fried but pan fried. I don’t think the name matters, and I don’t know who made that distinction and when.

Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy
We prefer to pan fry these Chicken Fried Steaks

I’ll leave it at this: call it whatever you want, but this is my version of an amazing chicken fried steak recipe, and it is pan fried. And if I didn’t think it was one of the best versions, it wouldn’t be here on the blog! It has quickly become one of our favorite recipes!

You can achieve the same delicious result either way, but we feel that pan frying is a more approachable method than using a deep fryer, and pan fried is what we prefer for this dish – mainly because you can make the gravy in the same pan and get some goodness from the steak!

How to Get a Perfect Crispy Crust?

If you’ve ever had chicken fried steak, fried chicken or any other breaded and fried protein and found the coating soggy, falling off or just undesirable, you know how disappointing this dish can be. But when it’s right, it’s beautiful.

It’s not hard to achieve a perfect crispy crust, but there is some technique involved: dry, wet, dry. Dipping the steak into the dry seasoned flour mixture first, followed by the wet egg mixture, and back to the dry mixture again will result in the perfect chicken fried steak coating.

The baking powder, cornstarch and baking soda in the dry mixture also help with final texture and adherence. Seasoning the steak and then seasoning the flour coating the steak is a must for flavor, as well. We kept it simple with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, since the gravy is the main flavor maker here.

Ancho Poblano Gravy

Chicken fried steak is almost always accompanied by a cream gravy. Sometimes it’s a brown gravy, most of the time it’s a white country gravy, but whatever the case, it should be a great accompaniment. Many times, it falls short, but we have the fix here.

Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy
Ancho Poblano Gravy for Chicken Fried Steak

Since this is a breaded, fried beefsteak, the color of the gravy isn’t all that concerning to me. It’s all about the flavor, and with poblano peppers and ancho chile powder, this one is a flavor bomb! And since ancho chiles are actually poblano peppers, we have some natural synergy here!

This gravy is an easy recipe to make and will bring the whole dish together (since you must serve mashed potatoes with it as well!)

What to Serve with Chicken Fried Steak?

The classic sides to serve with this dish are mashed potatoes and green beans, as pictured. We love our Parmesan Peppercorn Mashed Potatoes recipe with this, so check that out. The gravy is a great accompaniment for the potatoes as well, so use your favorite recipe. For the green beans, we prefer to blanch and blister the green beans then drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and toasted almond slivers. That is absolutely NOT traditional, but amazingly good! But you do you here and prepare what you like!

Enjoy!

We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy! If you give it a try and like it, click the heart at the top of the post, leave us a 5 star rating and comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy

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Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy

Course: DinnerCuisine: Southern, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

45

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • For the Steaks
  • 4 pieces tenderized cube steak (1/4” thick)

  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp kosher salt (divided)

  • 2 tsp black pepper (divided)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 cup milk (or buttermilk)

  • 1 egg

  • Vegetable oil or shortening (for frying)

  • For the Gravy
  • 1 small poblano pepper, small dice

  • 3 Tbsp AP flour

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

  • For the Garnish
  • Chopped Parsley

  • Chopped Poblano Peppers

Directions

  • Prepare the Steaks
  • Dry the tenderized steak pieces thoroughly (use a meat mallet to flatten if necessary). Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper on both sides of the meat. Place the meat on a rack over a baking sheet tray and place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to rest.
  • In one casserole dish or bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, garlic powder and the remaining 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • In another casserole dish or bowl, add the milk and egg and whisk to combine.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°F (warm).
  • When the steaks are ready, remove them from the refrigerator. Get a large skillet, sauté pan, or large cast-iron skillet, and fill with oil or shortening to about ½” deep. Heat over medium-high heat to 325°F. You will shallow fry the steaks in as many batches as necessary, depending on the size of your pan. While the oil is coming up to temperature, prepare the steaks by first coating them in the flour mixture. Then coating in the milk and egg mixture, and finally coating them again in the flour mixture.
  • Use tongs to gently place each piece of meat into the hot oil, being careful not to burn yourself. Once you place the steaks in the oil, the temperature of the oil will drop dramatically so turn the heat up to bring it back to 325°F as you cook the steaks. Cook steaks for approximately 4 minutes per side. The crust should be a deep golden brown color.
  • Once the steaks are done, place them on a wire rack over a sheet tray and place in the preheated oven to keep warm. DO NOT cover with aluminum foil, you want the crust to remain crispy.
  • Prepare the Gravy
  • Once the steaks are done, pour off all but about ¼ cup of the oil. Return the pan to medium heat and add the poblano peppers to the oil. Cook for a few minutes until the peppers soften. Whisk in the flour until it is thick and pasty, adding a little more flour if necessary. Stir the mixture until the smell of raw flour is gone, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Next, pour in the milk and whisk until you achieve a smooth creamy gravy. Add the salt, pepper, and ancho chile powder and stir. Cook the gravy for another few minutes, adjusting the consistency with more milk if needed. Taste for seasoning and add more kosher salt if needed. Serve over the steaks and garnish with chopped parsley and additional chopped poblano peppers if desired.

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