Chicken Fried Bison Sirloin

chicken-fried-bison What the rest of the world calls "milanesa" we affectionately call chicken fried steak.  What it amounts to is taking a steak (in this case a bison sirloin) and cooking it exactly like fried chicken (hence the name.)  Smothered in country gravy and served with creamy mashed potatoes, this is southern comfort food at its finest.  If you're looking for a low-calorie, organic, leafy-green-based, health food meal, just go right on by this one.  But if you're looking for heavenly flavor, richness and just down-home, feel-good food, this is your stop.  Read on if you're looking for the highway to comfort food heaven.   Ingredients: 4 Bison Sirloin Steaks      You're going to want to make these steaks thin enough so they cook quickly.  If you don't have a knife sharp enough to butterfly these steaks, (or if it just seems too daunting) you can use a mallet to pound them to about 1/4" - 1/2" thick.  Pounding them is a good way to get out some of that aggression and it tenderizes the meat at the same time. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour      The flour doesn't need to be sifted or anything.  We're just going to use it to coat the steaks. 2 tsp Baking Powder      You need to be sure your baking powder isn't out of date.  If it's fresh, it doesn't matter what brand it is. 1.5 tsp Baking Soda      Baking soda gives the coating a little bit of a twang.  If you like more of that, use 1.5 tsp.  If you like less, you can use as little as about 3/4 tsp. Salt and Pepper      Don't be shy about the pepper.  If you're a big pepper eater you can use up to 2 tsp of pepper.  As far as salt, somewhere between 3/4 tsp and 1.5 tsp should do.  Use your taster to get it just right. 2 Eggs      Any eggs will do.  If you only have one egg, that would probably get you what you need in a pinch. 1 Cup Buttermilk      Make sure the buttermilk is reasonably fresh.  The flavor is milder that way. 4 Cloves Garlic      Garlic goes great on almost everything and chicken fried steak is no exception.  If you're not a huge garlic fan, you could cut back to 1 - 2 cloves.  You'll want the garlic minced.  Don't use garlic powder or garlic salt.  If you don't have fresh garlic, leave it out. 3 Cups Oil      This is up to you.  Tradition says always fry in shortening (what they refer to as grease in the South.)  Butter is also very flavorful, but you have to be careful not to overheat it or it tastes bad.  Or, you could try bacon grease as well.  At the end of the day, you need some kind of fat to cook your steak in.  Use what pleases your family most. Optional      If you're one of those people who like everything to be just a little more spicy, you could add some sriracha, some cayenne, some chipotle pepper sauce, or whatever.  Just don't get carried away.  Deep frying will unlock the capsaicin, enhancing the heat.  Proceed with caution.   Instructions: Start by pounding your steaks to between 1/4" and 1/2" thick.  In one bowl you're going to want to put the flour, salt and pepper, baking soda and baking powder.  In another bowl you'll mix the buttermilk,  chilies (if you're using them,) the eggs and the garlic.  Place a pan on the stove with the oil and heat to 350 degrees (or so.)  I've never seen anyone in the South use a thermometer.  You may want to.  It's up to you. Begin by dredging the steaks in the flour.  Then move them directly to the egg/buttermilk mixture, then back to the flour.  If you like a thicker coating, you can repeat.  You just need to end with a dry coat of flour on the outside. Once you have the steaks coated, they're ready to go into the pan with the hot oil.  Plan on cooking for 3-4 minutes per side.  We're not cooking by time here, we're cooking by color.  When they're gold in color (not brown and especially not dark brown) they're done.  Generally speaking it will take 3-4 minutes per side.  Look at the photo accompanying this recipe for an idea of what gold looks like. Pour off the majority of the oil in the pan, leaving about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup still in the pan (being careful to reserve the little food bits that are there) and you're ready to make gravy.  Yes, you could use country gravy out of a package, but you've got everything you need right here to make homemade gravy.  Don't take the shortcut. Serve your chicken fried bison sirloin with mashed potatoes and cover it all with country gravy.  You can add the vegetable of your choice to the plate to make up for all that fat. Conclusion: This is a great comfort food.  No, it's not the healthiest recipe in the book, and you probably wouldn't want to eat it every day.  But for those times when you just need something "good" instead of something "good for you," this is the recipe you need to reach for.  It's delicious and it's not really complicated.  It probably takes longer to read this recipe than it will take you to make it.  Give it a try and let us know how you like it.  As always, if you have something your'e doing with your chicken fried steak that works well for you, leave a comment so we can all try it.

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