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Chicken Fried Steak with Black Pepper Gravy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves -- crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves -- crumbled
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper -- to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef round steak -- 3/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups canned beef broth

Black Pepper Gravy:
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt -- optional


In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, paprika, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cut steak into 6 serving pieces. Dredge steak pieces with seasoned flour, pressing as much flour as possible into the steak pieces. Reserve any leftover seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add steak pieces and brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer browned steak to a 3 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker; pour in broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours. If cooking on HIGH, stir once during last half hour of cooking. Transfer steak to a heated serving platter. Keep warm.

To make Black Pepper Gravy: Transfer pan juices to a large skillet. Over medium heat on top of the stove, whisk in the 5 tablespoons flour plus any reserved seasoned flour. Cook until golden brown, whisking continuously. Gradually stir in milk and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Stir in pepper and season with salt to taste. Pour gravy into a gravy boat to serve with the steaks.

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