There are some dishes that are required to be on a rotation when you live in this part of the world. I’ve already covered a few of them like Chili and Cornbread, Catfish, and soon Shrimp and Grits will be coming out.
Today, though, is probably the quintessential meal of the south, and that means taking some form of protein, coating it in a breading, and then smothering it in pan gravy. It doesn’t even matter what the protein is, steak, chicken, eggs, an old boot… as long as there’s gravy, it’s going to be good. As a kid with an OTR big rig driver for a father, I used to love going into the TA truck stop Iron Skillet restaurants and eating a giant chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes that were just barely poking out from under a deep stagnant pond of pepper gravy.
I looked up the nutrition listed on the TA website and just for the chicken fried steak itself not including the sides, we are talking 800 calories, 49 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 515 mg of cholesterol, 1900 mg of sodium, and 51 grams of carbs. Wow. It’s a good thing we were in a Peterbilt 359, because I don’t think a passenger car would have had the torque to carry me home after eating that in one sitting. I owe my heart a lengthy apology for all I have put it through over the years. As bad as those numbers are, I still couldn’t just leave gravy by the highway exit with it’s thumb out trying to catch a deadhead ride East from Gallup to Tucumcari. We just have to find a way to lighten the load so we can get through the weigh station… not the one on the interstate, but the ones we keep on the bathroom floor.
Yikes! Anytime you see the words “PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED” in front of an oil, that means dangerous trans-fats, the worst kind you can eat. Most of the other items listed there are up to no good as well, and it’s best to not even look at those packets in case you anger one.
However, there is an easy way to transform homemade gravy. It’s as easy as swapping out a few decidedly unhealthy ingredients, and then the process is exactly the same. If you have ever made a roux for a normal gravy, it’s all the same steps for my heart and scales friendly version. The key ingredients are using grass fed butter and heavy cream to get their healthy omega-3 fats, and swapping out bleached AP flour for chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is made from stone ground garbanzo beans, it’s a good source of fiber, protein, and it’s gluten free for those of you with Celiac. It has a neutral taste so it functions just like AP flour, just without the bleach and simple carbs. It’s also easy to find in the local mega-marts.
- 4 – 6 chicken breasts, pounded flat
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp sea salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika divided
- 2 Tbsp grass fed butter
- 2 Tbsp chickpea flour
- 2 cups grass fed heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 – 3 tsp fresh cracked pepper to taste
See the list of all the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.