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The Honolulu Advertiser

By Elaine Magee

Posted on: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cut the fat in chicken-fried steak

 • New year, new cookie
Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Chicken-fried steak is a comfort food usually served topped with a scoop of pan gravy. Make a quick skillet gravy by adding fat-free half-and-half and flour to the hot pan.

Elaine Magee

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Q. I had chicken-fried steak at a restaurant the other day, and it reminded me how much I like this dish. Can you show me how to make this light and lean at home?

A. Chicken-fried steak is Southern comfort food. And it really is possible to keep the comfort and lose some of the calories and saturated fat. The steak is normally dredged in flour, then beaten eggs, then back into the flour and fried in lots of oil or other cooking fat.

To lighten things up, I started with a lean steak, trimmed of visible fat, and made the egg mixture with one omega-3 egg and some egg substitute. To brown the breaded steaks, I used 1 1/4 tablespoons of olive oil and a nonstick skillet instead of 1/4 cup of cooking fat.

You can make a quick skillet gravy by adding some fat-free half-and-half and flour to the skillet to incorporate all the brown bits and meat juices in the pan. The result is a surprisingly easy-to-make entree that tastes as comforting as it looks but with almost 40 percent fewer calories and 60 percent less total fat and saturated fat.

You may have to ask the butcher to cut the steaks for you, as 1/4-inch-thick steaks are not widely available.

The original recipe had 440 calories, 30 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat and 115 mg of cholesterol per serving.


• 1 large egg (higher omega-3, if available)

• 1/4 cup egg substitute

• 1 cup unbleached white flour

• 1/4 teaspoon paprika

• 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper

• 4 thin, lean steaks (i.e., top sirloin) 1/4-inch thick (each about 3 ounces), trimmed of visible fat

• 1 1/4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (canola oil can be substituted)


• 1 cup fat-free half-and-half

• 2 teaspoons unbleached white flour

• 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, thyme or marjoram (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

• Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg substitute together. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, paprika, salt and pepper.

Dredge each steak in flour, then in egg, then dredge it in flour again and place it on a piece of wax paper.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/4 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Spread oil evenly over the surface of the skillet, then add the steaks and cook until undersides are golden (about 3 to 4 minutes). Coat tops of steaks with olive-oil cooking spray. Flip steaks over and brown the other side (3 to 4 minutes more).

While second side is browning, in 2-cup measure, make a paste with 2 tablespoons of the fat-free half-and-half and 2 teaspoons of flour, then stir in remaining half-and-half.

When you have removed the steaks from the skillet, quickly pour in the half-and-half mixture along with the herb of choice and gently boil until thickened (about 1 minute). Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Serve chicken-fried steaks with a spoon or two of the skillet gravy drizzled over the top.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (steak plus gravy): 270 calories, 24 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 6.7 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 0.5 gram fiber, 222 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 40 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids, 0.2 gram, omega-6 fatty acids 0.8 gram. Weight Watchers points, 6

Elaine Magee is author of "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook" and "The Flax Cookbook." Reach her through her Web site. www.recipedoctor.com. Personal responses can't be provided.