Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pan Fried Steak & Gravy

Pan Fried Steak & Gravy
Dorcas Annette Walker

May is the International Trade Month for cattle. Years ago when our children were young we raised a calf for our freezer. The jersey calf was adorable with big brown eyes. We quickly fell in love with it even though my husband didn’t allow us to name it. It was a terrible day when it came time to butcher our cow. Our daughter cried and refused to eat any beef. I too decided that I preferred my beef to be packaged and bought at the store. Thankfully we don’t have pasture land available or my husband would try to raise another calf.

Beef has long been a popular meat in the United States. Columbus introduced cattle to the New World on his second voyage in the 1500’s, but it wasn’t until the 1880’s that the cattle industry began to boom. In the 1890’s herds of buffalo were gone and cattle was owned by small and large producers. By 1898 the cattle industry was almost entirely in the West. Today the United States is one of the four largest consumers of beef and the third largest exporter. Beef comprises 21 percent of the overall U.S. retail food market. Popular breeds of cattle include Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn or Wagyu- a Japanese breed.

Cattle are natural grazers, but at the end of World War II an economic incentive was created to finish beef on corn for optimal levels of production. The top three categories for graded beef are prime, select, and choice ranked by decreasing amounts of fat within the muscle. Only two percent of all graded beef meets the qualifications of prime. Since 2003 animal health issues have become very important. To ensure beef safety the USDA now has a database and tracking system to identify all animals to the source in the event of an animal disease outbreak occurs.

The demand for organic or pasture-fed beef is growing in the United States, but marketing is one of the most daunting challenges farmers face as trade is critical for profit. There are many farmers who would like to produce organic beef, but there are few processors who can link from animal to retail as small processors are hit hard when it comes to government food safety regulations. Fewer USDA inspection facilities entail higher transportation and processing costs. Some farmers choose direct marketing whereas others opt for cooperative.

My Pan Fried Steak & Gravy makes a hearty meal especially when mashed potatoes, vegetable, and a salad are added. The Pan Fried Steak & Gravy is a meat lover’s delight something that always brings a big smile to my husband’s face. Preparation time for my tender well-done Pan Fried Steak & Gravy is about an hour and ten minutes and this recipe serves three.

Pan Fried Steak & Gravy

3 tb shortening
4 tb self-rising flour
½ lb ½ inch thick steak
sliced small onion
garlic, regular salt, and pepper
6 c water
brown gravy mix
½ c corn starch

Melt shortening in an iron skillet. Rub both sides of the steak with flour, browning both sides on high, and add onion. Sprinkle with salts and pepper. Pour in one cup of water. As soon as the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat, and cover. Let simmer for an hour adding the other cup of water as needed.

Brown Gravy: When the steak is cooked put on a meat platter and cover. Add four cups of water to the skillet and increase the heat. Mix brown gravy and corn starch together with a small amount of water. Add to the liquid stirring with a Wisk. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Serve hot with the steak!

Weekly tip: To help cut costs on your grocery bill buy marked down meat and immediately freeze!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

No comments: