More sous vide fun

July 21, 2015

Steak 'n gravy with accompanying veggies. Child C's plate, as I opted for more corn, more okra, more peas -- and tomatoes.

Steak ‘n gravy with accompanying veggies. Child C’s plate, as I opted for more corn, more okra, more peas — and tomatoes.

I have mastered, I tell you, mastered the chicken fried steak.

Those of you who frequent “home cooking” establishments and diners in the South and Midwest are doubtless familiar with chicken fried steak. It’s a piece of tenderized round steak, breaded and fried crisp, and served under a blanket of cream gravy.

Now, I know how to fry it up crispy. I can, something better than a third of the time, make a respectable cream gravy. But my problem has always been getting the steak, which is thin but not from a tender cut of cow, to be tender as a result of the brief cook.

Well, sous vide is designed to, among other things, solve that problem, right? Right.

So I pulled two packages of tenderized round steak — what we used to call “minute steak” — out of the freezer Saturday morning, and thawed them. They already come vacuum-sealed in plastic, so I simply left them in that plastic and tossed them in the water bath at 140F for about 2 hours Saturday night. Then I took them out and put them in the fridge.

Next day, I unpackaged, salted and peppered them; dredged in flour, then dipped in egg-and-milk wash, and then dredged again in panko, and into a medium-hot skillet they went, for about three to four minutes on a side, until they were a nice golden brown.

I poured off all but a tablespoon or so of the oil, stirred in a little flour, and added milk. Let the gravy go a bit long, but it was acceptable. The steak was plumb dang GOOD, and I don’t even really care for chicken fried steak. I wasn’t eating it since I had my favorite trinity of veggies — corn, purple-hulled peas and fried okra — with the addition of sliced tomatoes and cornbread, and therefore meat was a relatively pointless addition to the meal, but I have a son-in-law who is a Big Healthy fella and needs his protein.

And I have most of a skillet of cornbread left, which will go in the freezer and one day here soon I’ll have chicken and dressing, as I have ordered up new chickens from my chicken dealer down in Forrest City.

But right now I can’t stop thinking about those short ribs in the sous vide with a gochujang-based marinade, then finished on the grill with galbi sauce. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on over and we’ll try those.

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