Adventures in Chicken Fried Steak

My boyfriend requested chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and carrots for his birthday, and despite feeling like I was really giving him a heart attack as a present, I whipped up the Southern dinner he wanted.  It turns out that chicken fried steak doesn't involve any chicken at all--it simply means steak cooked in the style of chicken.  I used the recipe in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook for the most part; my comments are in square brackets.

1 1/2 lbs top round steak [I used two New York strip steaks]
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening [I did use shortening, but the nutitrional info is appalling; a cook friend recommended vegetable oil instead]
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups milk [this made a lot of gravy for two people; this recipe is supposed to serve four to six.  But who's going to complain about too much gravy?]

Cut the steak into 4 to 6 serving pieces [or trim the icky bits off of your NY strips like I did].  Pound 1/4 cup flour into the steaks using a meat pounder or the rim of a sturdy plate [I rocked it Yukon-style and used the butt-end of my hatchett, and it worked like a charm].  Pound in as much flour as you can until the steaks are saturated and quite thin.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Heat the shortening in a large skillet over high heat.  Cook the steaks very quickly, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Remove to a platter and keep warm [a plate overturned on top of another plate on the back of the stove worked great for me].  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat.  Add the onion and sautee, over medium heat, for about two minutes, or until soft.  Stir the remaining flour into the onion, continuing to stir, and let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk, constantly stirring, and cook until the gravy is thickened.  Serve with mashed potatoes and pass the gravy.

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