The ultimate comfort food for a Southern girl is a Chicken Fried Steak, at least for me, I love them. But what if you eat Primal, Paleo or Keto and don’t eat grains? That was me, that was my dilemma, and I missed them terribly.
Once I got more comfortable with using Paleo-approved ingredients, the chicken fried steak testing began. Some turned out good, some not so good, but I got closer every time. My mom shared the pickled jalapeno juice trick with me. This secret ingredient is the bomb and was the game-changer for this recipe. It doesn’t make it spicy at all, it just adds a faint pickle flavor that really amps up the taste. Who knew?
For those of you who don’t know, the Chicken Fried Steak was named for the way the meat is cooked, not from the type of meat that is used. The steak is fried like chicken. It’s usually made with round steak, but I have seen many different cuts used. I ordered one from a restaurant many years ago that used thin cut ribeye. That one was really good. It may be time to experiment with that myself.
I offer a dairy-free option and a Keto option for the low-carb eaters out there. I go back and forth between the options. For the steaks and the gravy, I like the taste of the gluten-free all-purpose flour best. But when I’m feeling the need to go lower on the carbohydrates, I’ll use the almond flour version. On the cauliflower mash, I like it with butter and that’s the only way I do it. If you have flexibility, go with what you and your family like best.
Make sure the steaks are tenderized or they’ll be too tough. Your butcher will do it for you. If not, you can beat them with a meat mallet or even the bottom of a glass. Just cover with parchment or wax paper and beat on one side, turn over and beat on the other. It should be between ¼” and ½” thick when you’re done. For frying, you could use lard or tallow, but bacon fat makes a big difference in the flavor. Duck fat is good too, although a bit pricy. I wouldn’t substitute here if you don’t have to.
Don’t try to pawn off the cauliflower mash as mashed potatoes because people will know. Just tell them what it is. They won’t mind because it really is that good. Don’t just save this side dish for your chicken fried steak. It’s great with roast, meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, turkey, or any time you would serve mashed potatoes. Cauliflower has less starch, fewer carbs, fewer calories, a lower glycemic index and more nutrients than potatoes or rice. It’s a great substitute for potatoes, rice, grits (another Southern thing), pizza crust, bread, and tots to name some of the most popular. It’s showing up everywhere these days, and thankfully my kids love it.
Yes, cream gravy is usually served with chicken fried steak. I prefer the brown gravy with my homemade bone broth. This broth makes everything taste better. Put it in soups, sauces, casseroles, anything that calls for broth, or just drink it. It’s comforting, good for you and very healing for your gut. Try it! But again, make what you and your family like best.
I hope your family likes this as much as we do. Now you can have your Chicken Fried Steak and eat it too! Questions, comments, and shares are welcomed.
Paleo Chicken Fried Steak with Cauliflower Mash and Brown Gravy (with Keto option)
Chicken Fried Steak
- 2 pounds Round Steak 1/4″-1/2″ thick, tenderized
- 1 cup Liquid from Pickled Jalapenos – plan ahead, 2 hours to marinate steak
- 2 each Eggs
- 2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (almond flour for Keto)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
- Bacon Fat, sourced from pastured pork
- 2 heads Cauliflower, cut into florets – about 8 cups
- 4 tbsp Grass-Fed Butter (coconut oil for dairy-free)
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream (coconut milk or unsweetened nut milk for dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup Pan Drippings, strained (or grass-fed butter)
- 3 tbsp Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (1/2 tsp xanthan gum for Keto)
- 3 cups Beef Bone Broth
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste, heavy on pepper is good here
Chicken Fried Steak
Cut the steak into 4-6 portions.
Put the steaks in a glass pan, pour jalapeno juice over steaks, marinate for 2 hours. Most of the liquid will be absorbed. This secret ingredient is the bomb! Only adds flavor, not spice.
Drain, blot excess moisture.
Mix the eggs in a shallow bowl with a fork.
Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a separate shallow dish.
Dredge the steaks in flour, dip in egg, dredge in flour again.
Add bacon fat to a cast-iron skillet until about 1/4″ high. Heat on medium heat.
Add the steaks to the skillet, fry for about 4 minutes, turn carefully, fry about another 4 minutes until they are brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels or a cookie rack. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
Place florets in food processor and pulse until finely chopped, about 10 seconds.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add cauliflower and sea salt, cook about 7 minutes until it begins to brown.
Add the milk and simmer for about 10 minutes until liquid is gone.
Puree with an immersion blender or food processor until creamy.
Whisk the flour into the strained pan drippings in your cast-iron skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. (for the Keto option, skip this step, whisk the xanthan gum into the simmering drippings and broth.)
Slowly whisk in the broth. Simmer, stirring frequently until it reaches the desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.