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.
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 260 grams beef (see note below recipe)
- 100 grams bulk sausage (or regular removed from casing)
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 ½ tablespoons cultured unsalted butter (21 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- 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 ¼-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 ¾-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.
Dorette Snover says
hi Marc, Wow, I LOVE this! The idea to pound the beef and roll it around sausage - fabulous.. If you had time to chill the "logs" maybe that would facilitate easier slicing? What do you think about stirring some gochujang and some minced scallions in the gravy?
Nicole Johnson says
Yes! The sausage IN the steak is genius.
Jameson Fink says
Nuggetize away! I agree that rolling the steak around the sausage is inspired.
Marc Matsumoto says
Hi Dorette, chilling the roll is a great idea, that should definitely make slicing easier. As for the gochujang and scallions I bet that would be great as I love pouring tabasco/sriracha/tapatio onto my chicken fried steak.
Why, oh why... would you not season the meat? I JUST made this. It looked so promising. I'll confess I'm not the most experienced cook. That's why I come here to this website and others- ...to learn new techniques and awesome recipes.
I wish I'd went with my gut feeling. I was asking myself, 'shouldn't this be seasoned?' when I was starting the first steps of the recipe. I dashed back to the computer to check and see. 'Maybe there's a reason not to. Maybe there's plenty of seasoning in the flour and gravy. Maybe he's trying to make it healthier? Wait.. c'mon. It's chicken-fried steak.' Sooooo I didn't. The dish... it's awful. Maybe it is my fault. Like I said, not a pro cook or anything. The inside of the nuggets turned out very bad when finished. Bland, chewy and dry. I'll take responsibility. Maybe I made the nuggets too thick. Maybe I cooked them too long. Maybe I should have tenderized the steak more. (I followed the directions to a 'T.' ...And the pictures pretty much look the same as what my process looked like, but who knows?)
Anyway. I'm going to eat the rest of it, I'm sure. Dumping a boatload of salt and pepper over it. It's not so horrible that I'm throwing it out. I was raised not to waste things. But... egads! Maybe add a step to season the meat. Just a little. Just a thought.
Marc Matsumoto says
Hi H, sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this. You could definitely season the meat, but I chose not to because the sausage is very salty and the gravy is seasoned with salt as well. Perhaps the type of sausage you used had less salt than mine. As for the toughness, what cut of beef did you use?
Marc, This recipe looks fabulous and I am planning to serve it at my party but I have a couple of questions first. How far in advance can these be prepared? Since its an appetizer, do they stay well for awhile in a chafing dish or warming tray? Thanking you in advance for your response
Marc Matsumoto says
Hi Laura, unfortunately like chicken fried steak this isn't really a make-ahead dish as the coating will go soggy pretty quickly. One possibility is to fry these in advance and crisp them again in a high temperature oven, but I definitely wouldn't recommend putting this in a chaffing dish since the coating will end up steaming making it very soggy.