Given how well my Chicken Parmesan Nuggets turned out, I thought I'd try my hand at nuggetizing some other classic American comfort foods; and what could be more comforting (or American) than some good 'ole chicken fried steak smothered in country gravy.
If you're not from the the US, you may be wondering where the chicken is. The name "chicken fried" simply means that the steak is prepared like fried chicken (i.e. coated in buttermilk and flour). It's crispy, savory and the tenderizing renders the meat super tender. Smothered in a porcine cream gravy made with both drippings and chunks of sausage, it's rustically indulgent in all the right kinds of ways.
While it's a pretty simple matter of cutting the steak into smaller pieces to turn them into bite-sized nuggets, chunky gravy isn't great for dipping. That's why I decided to stuff the nuggets themselves with the sausage. Served with a ramekin of rich creamy gravy, these things taste as good as they are bad for you. Luckily, these hors d'oeuvres are sure to disappear quickly, so you won't have a chance to get a second helping.
- Prepare two sheet pans with wire racks, laying a double layer of paper towels on one of them.
- Put the buttermilk in one bowl and in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, celery seeds, onion powder and salt.
- Use a meat tenderizer to evenly pound out the steak into a 1/4-inch thick piece of meat that's about 7-inches x 11-inches in size.
- Shape the sausage into a log running along the wide side of the steak.
- Tightly roll the steak around the sausage so that there are no gaps between the beef and the sausage.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into 3/4-inch thick slices using a sawing motion without applying a lot of pressure so that you don't squeeze the sausage out the sides. Reshape the the sliced rolls if needed.
- Dip the rolled beef in buttermilk and then coat with a thick layer of flour. If you want your nuggets to be extra crispy you can repeat this for a second coating of buttermilk and flour.
- Place the coated nuggets onto the wire rack and let them dry out a bit before frying. This ensures that your crust is extra crispy. If you're making the rolls ahead, you can keep the pan in your refrigerator uncovered until you're ready to fry them.
- Add 1-inch of oil to a heavy bottomed pot and heat until the oil reaches 340 degrees F (170 C).
- Fry the chicken fried steak nuggets in batches until golden brown and the interior measures 160 degrees F (70 C). Drain the nuggets on the paper towel lined rack.
- For the gravy, melt the butter in a small sauce pan and then add the flour, stirring to combine.
- When the mixture starts bubbling, take the pan off the heat and then add the milk, whisking until there are no lumps remaining.
- Return the gravy to the heat and continue whisking until thick. Salt and pepper the gravy to taste.
- Serve the chicken fried steak nuggets with a ramekin of cream gravy.
The only piece of beef I could find here that was big enough for rolling was a chuck steak, but it has a big vein of fat running through it, which is undesirable. Ideally you'll want to use a bottom round, top round or sirloin to do this with.