Welcome to the new Dinner For Two series here on Dessert For Two! I receive frequent emails asking for dinner recipes scaled down to serve two people, and after mulling it over, I have decided to do it. My current plans are to share dinner recipes once a month. So, those of you that just come here for the butter-flour-sugar party won’t be too disturbed.
The dinner recipes will be my favorite Southern dinners. There will be lots of buttermilk, cream and fried stuff. Loosen that top button and get ready!
I want to begin the series with my all time favorite Southern meal: Chicken fried steak with brown gravy and mashed potatoes. If you’ve never had this delicious meal, pull up a chair and let me share it with you.
For two servings of chicken fried steak, I choose two cube steaks that weigh no more than 1/2 a pound total. I sprinkle the steaks with seasoned salt (you may substitute regular salt) and pepper, then dredge them in a scaled-down batter and flour mixture, then fry.
After the steaks fry, I drain off most of the fat from the pan and make a small batch of brown gravy.
Behold: bubbling brown gravy. This is what Heaven tastes like. I just know it.
Since you’re making a pan of gravy, I highly suggest you make mashed potatoes on the side. I included a recipe for a small batch of perfect mashed potatoes for two. Just one potato, a couple of tablespoons of butter and a splash of buttermilk and you’ve got yourself the perfect vehicle for homemade gravy.
Makes 2 servings of chicken fried steak, gravy & mashed potatoes.
For the chicken fried steaks:
1 cup oil for frying (I use canola)
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (divided use)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 cube steaks (weighing about 1/2 pound total)
Seasoned salt to taste (or regular salt)
Pepper to taste
For the mashed potatoes:
1 large potato (9-10 ounces)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt (or, to taste)
Pepper, to taste
First, make the chicken fried steak. Add the canola oil to a heavy cast iron skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. In a shallow bowl, beat together the egg and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. In another bowl, add 1/2 cup of the flour. Season both sides of the cube steaks with seasoned salt (or regular salt) and pepper. Dip the steaks in the flour, shake off the excess, then dip them in the egg-buttermilk mixture. Dip them again in the flour mixture and press the flour into the steak to get a good coating. Check the temperature of the oil by sprinkling in a pinch of flour: you want it to sizzle and float. Once the oil is hot (about 325-350 degrees), gently add the steaks. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. When the steaks are golden brown and crispy, remove from oil and keep them warm in a low oven.
Next, make your gravy: drain off all the fat from the skillet except 2 tablespoons. Return it to medium-low heat, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk it to incorporate it into the fat and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 1 1/4 cup of buttermilk while whisking. Season the gravy with salt and pepper, then let it come to simmer while whisking frequently. Once it thickens, turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, make your mashed potatoes: peel and dice your potato and boil it until tender. Drain it, then add it to a bowl with 2 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup buttermilk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, cover the steak and a scoop of mashed potatoes in lots of gravy. Enjoy!
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.