Nuevo Laredo Chicken-Fried Steak

Recipe By : Texas Home Cooking - ISBN 1-55832-059-8

2 pounds round steak cut 1/2 inch thick twice tenderized by the butcher
12 ounces beer
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup masa harina
2 teaspoons cumin seed -- toasted and ground
1 teaspoon ground dried red chile -- prefer. New Mexican
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano -- preferably Mexican
1 egg
oil -- preferably canola

This nearly nouvelle CFS features a beer bath, border seasonings, and a crust made with masa harina, the specially-treated cornmeal used for tortillas and tamales.

Cut the steak into four equal portions. Pound the portions, if needed, until each is about 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the steaks in a shallow nonreactive dish, pour all but 2 tablespoons of the beer over them, and add the garlic. Marinate the steaks in the beer for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

While the steaks are soaking, combine the flour, masa harina, cumin, chile, salt, and oregano in a shallow dish. In another dish, mix the egg with the remaining 2 tablespoons of beer. Drain the steaks, and blot lightly with paper towels to remove excess moisture from the surface.

Dredge the steaks in the masa-flour mixture, then in the beer and egg. Dunk them back in the flour again, patting the flour in well to absorb moisture.

Add enough oil to a deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven to deep-fry the steaks. Bring the oil's temperature to 325 degrees F, and deep-fry the steaks, pushing them down under the fat or turning them over as they bob to the surface, for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are medium brown. Drain the steaks, and transfer them to a platter. Keep them warm while you prepare Cream White Gravy from the drippings.

Place the steaks on separate plates, spoon mashed potatoes with onion next to them, and cover both generously with the gravy. Serve immediately.

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