Who am I kidding? This is just my standard chicken-fried steak recipe, except I cut the tenderized round steak into “fingers” and turned them into dipping food! I was trying to think of something different to make with one of the many packages of tenderized top round in our freezer from the cow quarter we bought last year. It also needed to be something my daughter would eat. My daughter is a huge fan of my Garlicky Parmesan Chicken Tenders, so figured she’d go along with this idea of steak prepared in somewhat the same manner. (Although I bake the chicken tenders, not fry them.)
As expected, these were a hit! She liked them so much she brought leftovers to school the next day for lunch. And yes, my husband liked them too but he also likes my chicken-fried steak when I make it. Instead of serving with the usual mashed potatoes and green beans, I made french fries and a salad to go with this. (Plus then I could dip my fries in the gravy sauce too!)
Here is what I did:
Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy Dipping Sauce
1.5 to 2 pounds tenderized top round steak (or cube steak)
Ground pepper, and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
More black pepper and Mrs. Dash, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t want too spicy)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon butter
Vegetable oil, for skillet
2 tablespoons reserved cornmeal, flour mixture, or just plain flour
2 cups milk
More ground black pepper, for gravy
Cut the steak into strips across the grain about 1-inch wide and season them with pepper and salt, or Mrs. Dash, to taste. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. In yet another shallow bowl or on a large plate, mixed together the flour, cornmeal, and spices with a fork until well blended.
Dredge the steak fingers, one at a time, first through the cornmeal/flour mixture, then in the egg, then back into the mixture until well coated. Set in a single layer on a cooking sheet. Your fingers will get clumpy after a while, so you will have to rinse your hands a few times. Dredge until all pieces are coated.
Add the butter and vegetable oil to a large cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet and heat over medium, to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the steak fingers with tongs one at a time, leaving space between them. Do not overcrowd the pan. You will have to do this in batches. Cook on each side for a few minutes until golden brown and no more red juice is seeping from the steak. Remove to paper-towel lined plate and continue cooking the rest of the steak.
Once all the steak fingers are cooked, pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of oil from the pan. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of the reserved cornmeal/flower mixture, or add in new flour if you ran out or forgot to save some. Continue whisking until a golden brown, then pour in the milk all at once. Continue whisking and stirring until the the cream gravy is the consistency you want. If it gets too thick, you can add more milk or water.
Remove from heat, pour into dipping bowls, and serve with the steak fingers. Finger-licking good!