Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chick'n Fried Steak with No Fowl Play

I have a weakness for Chick'n Fried Steak (Seitan). I don't know where it came from or when it happened, but I love it and I crave it. When I go brunching I usually end up ordering Chick'n Fried Steak (why do I keep capitalizing that?) because it is something that I rarely make at home. I rarely make it at home because I just can't get it right. However, the other night, I got it right. So, so right.

Chick'n Fried Steak, corn fritters with spicy mayo and green salad. It may be my favorite meal of all time. At least for right now. I did have some phenomenal mac and cheese last night.

All right, seitan. The seitan recipe from my last post is wonderful and easy and super, but for my latest CFS I decided to use the tried and true boiling method. This is because I had some time to kill and figured I could play Just Dance for the 45 minutes it took to simmer.

Seitan Cutlets:
2 cups of vital wheat gluten
spices (see below)
2 cups of vegetable broth or water


8 cups water
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/4 cup Braggs
1/4 cup soy sauce

In a bowl, combine the gluten and whatever spices your heart desires. I measure based on my love of certain flavors. I used a big dash of garlic powder and onion powder and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and then a lighter dash of pepper, mustard powder and smoked paprika. Add the 2 cups of broth or water (I used broth) and combine until a dough forms. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes until it is somewhat elastic feeling and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

While the seitan is sitting, fill a stock pot with 8 cups of water. Add approximately 1 teaspoon (I measured out two cap-fulls) of liquid smoke, 1/4 cup of Bragg's, and a 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Turn the mixture on medium-high heat and wait for it to begin simmering.

Knead your seitan dough a little bit and cut into slabs. Slabs? I cannot think of the word I really want to use, so slab it is. Press and pull each one until it roughly resembles a steak. I made 8 of them and kept them on the smaller side because they plump up as they cook.

Once your water et. al. is simmering, drop your steaks in, cover and reduce heat. Keep the steaks at a simmer for 30-45 minutes, remove from heat, drain (reserve broth if you aren't cooking all eight steaks) and set aside. Try not to let the water boil because it will change the texture of your steak!

If you plan on saving some of your seitan for future recipes (Great idea!! Do it! Although, I probably could have easily eaten eight Chick'n Fried Steaks they were that good) pour the reserved marinade in a Tupperware and let it cool. Add your cooled unused cutlets to the broth and cover. They can live in the refrigerator for about a week.

Now, for the breading I did something a little different than I normally do. Typically I use Panko because I always have it. However, I didn't have it this night, so I decided to make my breading the old-fashioned way!

3 tsp of Tony Chachere's, Spike Seasoning or Old Bay seasoning. (I used Tony's)
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 cups Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder

For the batter I also went a different route because I didn't have any egg-replacer. This worked out really well, however and I will definitely continue experimenting with it!

1/3 cup of your breading mix
3 TBS Stone Ground Mustard (Honey Mustard would taste great, too! Or Stoneground)
1/4 cup Water
1/4 Cup of Soy Milk

Other Ingredients:
up to 32oz of Canola Oil

Now that your seitan is cool to the touch it's time to bread and fry (or bake!). I am the picture of health (hah) and decided that I wanted my steaks fried. If this is the case, heat 20-32 oz (yes, this is practically an entire bottle) of canola oil in your cast-iron skillet.

Mix together all the breading ingredients EXCEPT THE BAKING POWDER. Mix together all the batter ingredients. Now you can add your baking powder to the remaining breading ingredients.

This part has the potential to get messy, but it's worth it. Create a station near your skillet: cutlets, batter, breading, skillet. I always use cake pans for my breading and batter and it makes life so much easier. Take a cutlet and dip it in the batter until it's completely coated. Dredge the cutlet in the breading until all sides are coated and then ever so gently lay it down in the hot oil. Continue with the other cutlets as pan-size permits. Fry each side about 2-3 minutes until it is golden-brown and crispy! Drain well on a paper towel (or extra Trader Joe's bags) and let cool.

If you are baking your cutlets, lay them on a cookie sheet, spray with canola oil and bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, flip, spray again and bake for 15 more minutes. For extra crispy steaks, turn the oven up to 425F and bake for about 5 more minutes.

And that is how I made perfect Chick'n Fried Steak.

I apologize for the lack of posts, but I assure you I am getting back into the swing of things. I am pretty certain that 2012 is going to continue to be as fantastic as it already has been! Check back for Stromboli, Coconut Tofu with Mango Cream Sauce and hopefully some sort of dessert. Delicious.

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