When my parents visited me last, we went out for Mexican food on one of their first nights here. We ended up at Paco’s Tacos and Tequila in South Park since it was close to my house and I had been there a few times before and loved it. They loved it too and we had such a great meal. One of the tacos that I chose was a chicken fried steak taco with a cheese gravy. It was beyond delicious and I knew I wanted to recreate them.
While Paco’s Tacos and Tequila chose a cheese gravy, I wanted to stick with a regular gravy and just add a little cheese if needed, and I’m glad I went that route. Every southern girl has a recipe for gravy and I learned mine one summer in college. I was making breakfast with an old boyfriend’s mom for everyone and as soon as the sausage came out of the skillet, she told me she was going to teach me how to make a milk based gravy – something every girl should know how to do. It was simple; I (under her supervision, of course) whisked some flour in the drippings, poured in some milk and got up all of the little bits off the bottom of the pan, all while whisking the entire time – she told me that was the key to get a smooth gravy. In minutes we had a fantastic gravy to go with our biscuits, sausage, and eggs. It’s something that I’ve never forgotten and even though it’s so simple, it’s one of my favorite recipes.
Chicken Fried Steak Tacos
1 lb cube steak
Flour, for frying
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Pepper jack cheese, optional
Diced jalapenos, optional
Begin by slicing the cube steak into strips, about an inch or two in width. Set aside. Prepare your breading station by having one pie pan with flour and salt and pepper, and in another pie plate place the eggs and hot sauce and mix well.
Take each slice of cube steak and dip it in the eggs and then the flour, shaking off any excess. Repeat with remaining strips of steak and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
In a medium skillet, place enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over medium high heat. To make sure the oil is hot enough, drop a small pinch of flour in and if it sizzles, then it’s ready. Place the strips of steak in the pan, being careful not to over crowd. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the steak and season with a little salt and repeat with any remaining batches.
Once all of the meat has been cooked, turn down the heat to medium and remove all oil but 2-3 tablespoons, adding more if needed. whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes or until all of the flour taste is out. Continuing to whisk, add in the milk and turn up the heat to medium high, letting the gravy come to a boil and thicken. Continue to whisk until the gravy can coat the back of a spoon, it should take about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
To assemble the tacos, take a tortilla and put 1-2 strips of chicken fried steak, top with a little cheese, if desired, gravy, and the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos, all to taste – repeat with remaining tacos. Serve immediately.