Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Country Style Steak

It must just be a southern thing but we tend to cook meats for an exorbitant amount of time, rendering at least some sort of gravy then slap all of it on top of some buttery mashed potatoes and call it dinner.  Do people do this in other parts of the country??  I wonder.  I wonder what someone from the west coast of the eastern seaboard would think of this delicious, southern favorite.  Would they find it odd?  Scrumptious? Would they hate it or love it? 

In the end I guess it really doesn't matter but for as long as I can remember my dad has made this family favorite as he learned it from Joanne, the woman who worked for his family and then helped in our family as well.  It was women like Joanne who taught me from an early age that cooking can cross all boundaries, it can bring people together from all walks of life and can truly be a catalyst for long lasting friendships and deep rooted love.  She was a no holds barred, take no prisoner kind of woman and what she said went.  No if's, and's or but's about it.  

One of my favorite stories about Jo, as we affectionately called her, was when she decided to retire my grandmother asked her to please show one of us how she made her famous turkey gravy and dressing.  She agreed to show my grandmother how to make the gravy but said she would only teach my Dad how to make the dressing as it was only good if made the correct way.  My grandmother, being notorious for "substituting" ingredients, obliged and to this day my dad makes the dressing at Thanksgiving and Christmas the way Joanne did for so many years and the way she taught him....and only him!

The term "it takes a village to raise a child" always rings true in my ears because even though I have two of the most amazing parents who taught me so many life lessons I one day hope to pass on to my own children, it was women like Jo and the plethora of other family members and friends who truly shaped me into the woman I am today and for each one of them I am eternally grateful

Daddy's Country Style Steak
Round Steak, tenderized by the butcher (or you can get the pre-tenderized cube steak)
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
salt and pepper
Emeril's essence
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package whole mushrooms, sliced
2 cans beef broth
Melt bacon drippings in a large cast iron skillet.  Combine flour, salt, pepper and Essence on a plate. Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture and knock off any excess flour.  Brown the steaks on both sides in the bacon drippings.  Pour one can of beef broth over the steaks.  Top the steaks with the onion and mushrooms and pour the second can of beef broth over top.  Cover the skillet with a pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for at least an hour.  

Uncover it and cook for another 30 minutes to cook down the broth.  Remove from oven and take the steak out in order to make the gravy.  If the gravy needs thickening add cornstarch that has been dissolved in water.  Whisk until the desired consistency is reached.  Serve over mashed potatoes.
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