Friday, July 16, 2010

How I make my Cube Steaks with caramelized onions and gravy - a novel

Cube steaks are always thought to be gross and a "poor man's" food, when in reality, it's just a cheap cut of steak that turns out super tender when cooked properly. We get them at QFC, 4 of them for just under $5.00. I have made them a few times, and have now perfected my recipe. So here goes!

First we're going to caramelize the onions. For that you'll need the following:

Heavy-bottomed pan {preferably non-stick} big enough for the amount of cube steak you're going to be preparing.
Olive oil for the onions
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into slices
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt {I use Kosher Salt}

I don't know if I do them properly or not, so if this isn't the way you normally caramelize your onions, then feel free to do that how you normally do. :)

Add olive oil to pan, and heat it up a little bit, not so it's smoking hot, but enough that the butter will melt when you put it in. Add butter. Heat up a bit more, then add onions. After a few minutes, stirring once or twice, pour in the sugar, pepper and salt. Stir well. Let cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat, or just under high heat, I guess.... until they start to brown, then stir a bit. If you keep stirring them constantly, they won't brown up, so let them cook a bit in between stirs. After they're finished, take them out of the pan and set aside, but leave everything else {the buttery-olive-oily-little-tiny-bits-of-caramelized-onion-chunky-goodness} in the pan. If you prepare your flour and dredge your meat while they're cooking, your next step will be to add enough vegetable oil to fry them in, if you *didn't* prepare it ahead of time, turn off your pan and do that now.

Dredging mixture {I don't measure when cooking, so this is all an approximate. You can season and throw everything in to your likes/dislikes}:

In a flat, wide container, add just over 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tablespoon onion powder {yes, I still add this, even though I've added whole onions}, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper {don't accidentally forget that you've already added some pepper to the onions} 1 teaspoon paprika, pinch of chili powder and 1 tablespoon parsley. Stir it all together {a fork works the best!} and then one by one, dip and cover, {dredge} each piece of minute/cube steak in the flour and set aside on another plate or cookie sheet. By the time I get to my fourth piece, I have a little left, and it's just enough to re-dredge each piece. So if you're making more than 4, use more dredging mixture, so you can double-dip them. Makes for a delicious gravy later on...

After dredging the steaks, this is when you'll want your pan nice and hot. Remember you have all the oil and butter in there too though, so don't burn your butter while heating up the oil. :)

Slowly add the steaks, 2 at a time, and sear them, at a high temperature, and then pull them out of the pan. After they're all seared (they aren't cooked, only the outside edges are browned, sealing the yummy juices in) and on the plate, add to the little oil that's left 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of garlic, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of milk and about 1/4 cup Johhny's French Dip Au Jus Sauce OR beef base/beef broth/beef consume.

Place the caramelized onions on top of each steak, put the lid on, turn down to low, cook for 2 hours. I every-now-and-then go give them each a stir, and then at the very end, the gravy has thickened so much that sometimes I have to add a little bit of water to thin it out, and then I flip them over once or twice, even though I prefer to not throw the onions smack dab into the gravy... so if you don't have to flip them, awesome!

We serve these either over hot, white rice, or hot, buttered Rigatoni noodles. So yummy! Serve with green beans and a loaf of French Bread and the whole family will be happy! Enjoy!

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