When served alongside some mashed potatoes, or even mac and cheese if that's how you roll, a crisp and tender chicken-fried steak can be a heavy and filling meal. But often when I need a chicken-fried fix, I forego the hefty sides altogether and instead opt for a cold beer because, sometimes, a beer is the only side dish you need for chicken-fried steak.
In such cases, though, I've found that cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces (prior to battering and frying) makes for an easy-to-eat, beer-friendly snack to share amongst friends, rather than a full-blown gut-busting meal. After dipping the meat in an egg and milk wash and then dredging in seasoned flour, the morsels are then fried in a bit of oil as per the usual chicken-fried steak treatment. And because the steak is cut into bite-sized pieces, it cooks faster, too—only 1-2 minutes per side.
As for the customary creamy gravy, I like to add a bit of beer (a Texas bock in this case, but any beer will do) and a glug of bourbon to add a bit more depth. And to complete the chicken nugget parallels, the gravy is best served on the side as a dipping sauce, rather than smothered atop the mini-steaks.
With these chicken-fried steak nuggets, you can still satisfy your chicken-fried cravings, but without all the fuss or worry of what you'll be eating alongside the battered steak. Instead, just crack open a beer and enjoy everything you love about chicken-fried steak (the crispy and tender meat, and the creamy gravy)—but in nugget form.
About the author: Marvin Gapultos is the author of the Filipino food blog, Burnt Lumpia. His first cookbook is due out in 2013. When he isn't cooking or writing about Filipino food, Marvin is usually enjoying a beer or cocktail, and thinking about what to eat with said beer or cocktail. You can follow him on Twitter @BurntLumpia.