Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy - Lightened Up!

There's a funny story that I think of every time I have country-fried steak.  It was actually the very first meal that I ever cooked my husband, on one of our first dates.  I wanted to pull out all the stops and make him a home-cooked meal.  For some reason, country-fried steak was my meal of choice.  Can you blame me?  It's comforting, delicious and easy to make.  I figured I couldn't go wrong.  I was only about 19 years old at the time...boy, how my cooking style has changed since then!

About half-way through the meal, my clumsy self managed to spill a full glass of sweet tea all over Brad.  Boy, was I embarrassed!  He must not have minded too terribly much, because he's still hanging around.  A little spilled tea apparently wasn't enough to scare him off (thank goodness!).  :)

These days, I don't really deep-fry much anymore.  I'm always on the look-out for lighter versions of my favorite dishes, so this lightened up recipe caught my eye.  Instead of mounds of cream and butter in the gravy, it incorporates fat-free half-and-half and low-sodium beef broth.  The steaks are coated with crushed cornflakes and BAKED in the oven until cooked through.  Those techniques make this dish a wonderful, much healthier option than the classic pan-fried method.

The results were great (and we both made it through the meal completely dry!).

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Chicken-Fried Steak with Cream Gravy
Adapted from:  Bobby Deen; Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013

For the steaks:
Cooking spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup 1 percent milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Hot sauce, to taste
3 cups cornflakes, crushed
4 cube steaks (4 ounces each)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste
For the Cream Gravy:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Pour the flour onto a dinner plate. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and a few dashes of hot sauce. Place the cornflakes on a second dinner plate.

Season the steaks with salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste. Dredge them in the flour, patting off any excess, then dip into the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Finally, dredge them in the crushed cornflakes, pressing lightly to help the flakes adhere.

Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops of the steaks lightly with extra cooking spray. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small cup, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the beef broth and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch mixture with the remaining beef broth and the half-and-half. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Let the gravy boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season generously with pepper and serve the steaks smothered in the gravy.
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