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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Jim Hillibish: If it tastes like chicken, it could be something else

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  • It appears that a lot more foods taste like chicken. Like rabbit. We see hopper in the store. Ask a clerk what it tastes like.
    “Just like chicken.”
    Then you see frogs legs, ask again.
    “Just like chicken.”
    We’ve heard veal described in chicken terms. Apparently, there’s a cut of pork out that is masquerading as a bird. Rattlesnake and even oysters, from the sea and the mountains, taste like you-know-what.
    All of which goes to say, if you want something that tastes like chicken, maybe you ought to try something that looks like one.
    Good luck in the South. They serve chicken-fried everything. Steak is No. 1, although it doesn’t exactly taste like chicken. But then nothing in the South tastes like chicken that isn’t chicken. That’s because bird is the national dish down there, and nothing else tastes as good.
    Chicken fried is tenderized beef steak dipped in the same batter they use with fried chicken. They don’t play around with moral/ethical arguments about food names. They just use a recipe handed down over the decades.
    Beef in the South for many years wasn’t quality. It’s a long way from the Chicago stockyards, and the beef often arrived nearly spoiled or leather tough. Chicken frying disguised all that and became the most popular beef meal.
    CHICKEN FRIED STEAK
    2 pounds roundsteak
    Vegetable shortening for frying
    Breading:
    2 cups flour
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    11/2 cups buttermilk
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon red pepper sauce, optional
    Cut beef into four portions 1/2-inch thick.
    Brine for two hours in a half gallon of water and a quarter cup of salt. Rinse under the tap and pat dry.
    Dip steak into egg and then breading mix. Then repeat.
    Skillet fry beef in pairs in a quarter inch of oil or shortening for six to seven minutes.
    Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
    Prepare gravy.
    CLASSIC MILK GRAVY
    1/4 cup pan drippings
    3 tablespoons flour
    2 cups evaporated milk
    1 cup beef stock
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Salt to taste
    Place skillet over medium heat.
    Sprinkle the flour in the pan drippings, whisking to avoid lumps.
    Add milk and stock. Simmer until liquid is thickened, about
    4 minutes, stirring frequently. If too thick, thin with milk.
    Season with pepper and salt and a dash of pepper sauce.
    Pour gravy over steaks and serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable.
    Page 2 of 2 - Serves 4.

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