When I married my husband I did not know how to cook because my mother did not let me in the kitchen. It was my mother-in-law, Mammy, who taught me the basics. She was a wonderful woman and we all loved her very much. I watched her cook for many years and I learned so many things from her. Although her recipe file was limited, everything she cooked was amazing. She made the best fried chicken, fried pork chops, and chicken fried steak. She would get in that tiny 8×8 kitchen of hers and cook the most plentiful and delicious Southern meals. She had 6 kids and they all liked different vegetables so she had at least one vegetable for each child. There were lots of veggies! Her simple mac and cheese, a mix of whatever leftover cheese she had, butter, and milk was delicious too. Her cakes were made from scratch without a recipe and were the most mouth watering, light cakes that I ever tasted. Shame we do not have that recipe. Mammy cooked most things from scratch so we had to watch to learn how she cooked since there was no recipe to follow.
When she fried chicken or anything else, she did not use an egg wash, she just floured the chicken and fried. She seasoned her flour well with plenty of salt and pepper, that’s all it needed. The following is one of her best recipes. Every now and again my husband asks me to make him a Mammy Meal and I know exactly which one that would be. Mammy’s Chicken Fried Steak with tons of vegetables, mashed potatoes and white gravy. Scrumptious. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do, it brings back so many fond memories of all those kids stuffed in that tiny kitchen eating Mammy’s big, big Southern home cooked meals.
COOKING MAMMY’S WAY
Place flour on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix. Give it a taste, you should taste the salt. Flour both sides of the cube steaks. Do not throw the flour away! You’ll see why in a minute.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat canola or vegetable oil. Fry the cube steaks. Cook 7-10 minutes on each side. Fry the entire batch. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in oven.
Once the steaks are fried, pour out excess oil leaving a little in the skillet as well as the browned bits. Place the skillet back on stove and loosen browned bits with a fork. Add flour. Turn on heat to medium and add milk. Continue loosening bits and whisk into gravy. Cook until desired thickness. Check the seasoning and re-season if needed.
On a platter, mix the flour with salt & pepper. Flour the meat. Heat a frying pan til hot. Don’t get it too hot. Add the oil. Heat to medium heat. Place steak in pan. Do not crowd meat. Fry til golden to dark brown about 7-10 minutes on each side. You can place a lid partially on the pan to control splatter. Place meat on plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm. Do not throw the flour away. Use to make the white gravy. Recipe follows. Serves 6.
1-2 T. Flour leftover from dredging meat
About 1 c. milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Remove grease from fry pan. Do not wipe pan. Add 1-2 T. Flour to pan. Whisk or scrape pan with a fork. Flour will be moist and lumpy. Turn flame on and add the milk stirring or whisking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium to high heat, stirring constantly til thickened. This makes about a cup of gravy. We like the gravy thin the reason for only 1T. flour. If you like it thick, then add 2 T. flour. If it’s too thick, you can always add more more milk. Makes one cup gravy.
Serve this dish with mashed potatoes, corn and green beans and if you are still hungry, add a salad and of course you can’t forget the sweet tea.
Update- Please check the cooking times on this as they have been changed to reflect what really happened and you do flip the steaks over! My Ma said I screwed this post up when I typed it for her. Forgive me! It is correct now. But she put me in time out anyway.