Craving the ultimate low carb comfort food? Chicken Fried Steak goes from junky to healthy with a few easy tweaks.
It’s always funny to compare my Canadian upbringing with that of my Yankee husband. On the one hand, things were not so very different on our opposing sides of the border. We spoke the same language, played the same games, watched the same TV shows and read the same books. And for the most part, ate the same foods. But then there are those things that one of us references and the other person gets that totally blank look. The “huh?” expression where we know we’ve hit something that doesn’t translate between our two countries. So many of my American friends will be amused to find out that chicken fried steak is one of them. I’d never heard of the stuff until sitting across from my then-boyfriend, now-husband at a diner in southwestern Colorado. It was one of his favourite dishes and I, for the life of me, couldn’t see the appeal. A cheap piece of steak pounded thin, fried in batter and slathered in viscous gravy? Nope, it just wasn’t for me.
But a Canuck can always change her mind, right? Especially when that dish comes out of Kyndra Holley’s new cookbook, The Primal Low Carb Kitchen. Just consider the subtitle of the book: Comfort food recipes for the carb conscious cook. Comfort food. We all need comfort food in our lives, the foods that bring back that flood of childhood memories, the foods we turned to in stressful, hectic times. Specialized diets should not be devoid of food that brings us such comfort. Many people who start a low carb diet think they have to give up so many of those beloved foods and this book proves them wrong. Not everything in the book is as low carb as I like to eat (there are some recipes with sweet potatoes and the like), but it’s a great jumping off point for many of your old favourites. It’s a great addition to any low carb or primal cookbook shelf!
So back to the chicken fried steak. Despite having lived in the US for close to two decades, I still wasn’t really a convert to this well loved southern dish. I’d had a bite or two of my husband’s occasionally and it was fine. But all that goopy white gravy wasn’t really my thing. And having embraced the low carb way of life, that breaded steak and flour-filled sauce became particularly uninviting. But Kyndra’s recipe is absolutely delectable! The thinly pounded steak is “breaded” in a combination of pork rinds, parmesan cheese and spices, and the gravy requires no flour to thicken it. I did tailor it a little more to my liking, cutting out the 3/4 cup of chopped onion to save a significant amount of carbohydrates. The whole family loved it and my son declared that the steak itself was better than a burger. That’s high praise from him!
Consider adding The Low Carb Primal Kitchen to your cookbook collection.
- 1 lb cube steak cut into 4 pieces (I used chuck steak) and pounded to 1/4 inch thick
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups crushed pork rinds
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pinch cayenne
- Oil for cooking (I used a combination of butter and light olive oil)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 12 oz pork breakfast sausage
- 2/3 cup onion diced (I skipped the onion for a lower carb count)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Sprinkle the cube steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a shallow bowl, combine the heavy cream and eggs. Whisk with a fork.
Combine the crushed pork rinds, Parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Spread into a thin layer on a large plate.
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 inch of oil.
Dip cube steak into the egg wash and then dredge in pork rind breading, coating thoroughly on both sides.
Place into hot oil and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sausage (crumbled if ground, slice if using sausage links). Cook until sausage is browned. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add onion (if using) and garlic to drippings in pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently.
Add cream, parsley and salt. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Once gravy begins to thicken, add sausage back into pan.
Pour over chicken fried steak.
Serves 4. I've broken out the nutritional counts of the steak and gravy separately below. Suffice it to say...it's more than a meal!
Food energy: 583kcal
Calories from fat: 389
Total dietary fiber: 0.49g
Sausage Gravy (does not include the onion, which raises the carb count considerably):
Food energy: 700kcal
Total fat: 65.64g
Calories from fat: 590
Total dietary fiber: 0.11g