Everybody loves Wednesday, right?
The week's half over. The weekend is on the way.
What's not to love?
Each Wednesday, I want to share something with you
that I absolutely love and can't live without!
On Monday, I shared with you the tablescape for Gerald's birthday party. My theme was "A Blue Plate Special Birthday Celebration". You can see it all here. It all began when Gerald requested deer cubed steak with gravy. Today, I'm sharing how I made the main dish.
Gerald is an avid deer hunter, as are both of our kids. So, we have a freezer full of deer meat. Gerald used to give me the whole "I'm gonna go out and stock our freezer so we can eat over the winter" speech. You know...like he's Pa from Little House on the Prairie!
His fatal mistake was when he sent me to the processor to pick up a couple of deer he and his daddy had killed and dropped off. Not only did I drive all the way from Tallassee to Greenville (two hours each way), when the man told me the amount I needed to pay him in order to take home those two little bags of frozen meat, I laughed. I thought he was kidding! (I think I actually called Gerald to make sure they guy wasn't trying to take advantage of me.)
Add to that the fact that he pays for a hunting club, and a hunting licence, and ammo, and tree stands, and everything else that goes along with it...Well, let's just say those two deer cost more than I probably spend on meat in a couple of years. But - he (and the kids) love to hunt. And he (and the kids) love to eat venison. Me? Not so much. But I have to admit. This cubed steak with gravy is good. Really good. Even my mama liked it!
Deer Cubed Steak with Gravy
There aren't going to be a lot of measurements here.
It just all depends on how much you're making.
I begin by placing the frozen package of cubed steak in a ziplock bag and submerge it in water for a couple of hours to thaw. TIP - I usually thaw things in my laundry room sink because it's next to the kitchen and it's deep. I also grab a handful of butter knives (maybe 6 to 8?) and drop them in the bag, as well. It weights the meat and holds it under the water, allowing it to thaw faster.
Once the meat is thawed, I unwrap it and drop it back in the ziplock bag, covering it with Moore's Low Sodium Marinade. (In the beginning, we used Dale's, but I prefer the taste of Moore's. Both of them make a low sodium version now, so use what you can find.) Place the meat in the fridge for at least an hour (but not more than two) so it can soak up the marinade.
I fill another ziplock bag with self rising flour. I really believe it makes a fluffier and lighter crust than when you use all purpose flour. I season the flour heavily with salt (I only use Kosher), freshly ground pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Zip the bag and mix that all up before adding the meat.
I used to run the meat through a beaten egg before flouring it, but I really don't think it's necessary. The marinade is kind of thick and serves the same purpose. Remove the meat from the marinade and let the extra drip off. Drop the meat in the flour bag a couple of pieces at a time and shake them up before adding more so that each piece becomes coated and doesn't stick to the others. Once all the meat has been added and coated, let the meat sit in the flour mixture at room temp for about 15 minutes. This allows the flour to really stick to the meat.
I use a large skillet to fry the steaks. I add about an inch of oil (we're not deep frying, but you want the oil to cover the sides of the meat) and heat it to about 350 on high. Once I have added my meat (be sure not to overcrowd the skillet) I turn it down to medium. It will continue to fry, but won't be hot enough to burn. This is especially important if you have to fry more than one pan full. (I cooked three for his birthday since my parents were coming.)
Once they are brown and a little crispy on the bottom, flip them and cook the other side.
Once they are brown and crispy, I remove them and drain on a paper towel. They are not cooked through entirely, and they're not really tender yet. That's OK. That's where the gravy comes in...
I pour off all but about 1/4 cup of the oil I fried them in and add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture I breaded them in. It has picked up the flavor of the meat, and has a few little pieces of meat in it. I brown it for a couple of minutes on a medium-low heat, then I add two cups of milk and about 1 cup of water. Using a whisk, I stir them together until there are no lumps.
When it is smooth, I turn up my heat to medium-high. It will thicken as the temperature rises. I continue to stir with the whisk to keep it smooth. Once it has simmered and thickened for about five minutes, I check my consistency. If it is too thick, add water - a little at a time until it is where you like it. If it is too thin, I stir about one teaspoon of cornstarch into the same amount of water and then add that to the mixture, whisking all the time.
Once my consistency is where I want it, I season with salt and pepper and also add some Gravy Master for color. Then I add the steaks to the gravy, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Very low and slow. They will finish cooking and tenderize. The night of Gerald's birthday dinner, I had several things on my stovetop and needed the space, so once I added the meat back to the gravy, I cover the pan and placed the meat in a 375 degree oven. It did it's thing, just like on the stovetop, and it came out tender and delicious!
There you have it! If you're husband is a hunter, you really need to try this recipe. It's really, really good. My daddy didn't know it was venison until we told him. He was so excited when he found out! In fact, he wants Gerald to kill him a deer next year. Mama did know it was venison, and ate it anyway! But I'm not really surprised. I mean after all - who doesn't like fried meat in gravy?!
I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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