If you’re gluten-free or on a Keto diet, you can still enjoy a delectable southern plate of chicken, mashed and cream gravy…..
Friends of mine – one in particular – get very irritated by the gluten-free craze, particularly the marketing. “Our Bacon is Gluten Free!” Well, yes. It always has been… so shut it. I understand their irritation.
Yet I know a lot of people who for good reason avoid gluten. Does that mean you can’t still have comfort food when needed? I decided to come up with a good comfort meal, one that usually would use a ton of flour, and see if I could tweak it without losing the love.
Chicken Tenders seem a universal favorite. (There’s a reason Chicken McNuggets remain so popular, right? Even after the pink sludge scandal…) But chicken tenders involve a lot of flour and deep frying. I’m from the south so if you have any kind of similar main dish, cream gravy is a must. Also a lot of flour. But after some experimenting, I came up with a pretty damn satisfying version, maximized by using my cauliflower mash rather than mashed potatoes (you’re welcome Keto fans.)
Trust me… make these, add a green vegetable, serve with my garlic salad and no one will know they’re not having the ‘real thing’… besides, we all can use some comfort food currently… right?
GLUTEN FREE CHICKEN TENDERS
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup almond flour
If the chicken breasts are really thick, slice them in half across to make two thinner pieces. Then cut each piece vertically into tenders.
Mix the buttermilk with minimum 1 teaspoon of each spice. I do a lot more. With both the liquid and the dredge, you really can’t over spice. I probably do a tablespoon each.
Add the chicken tenders to the spiced buttermilk and let soak for 30 min to an hour. You can do this in the same bowl in the fridge or pour it all into a gallon-sized Ziplock and stick that in the fridge.
Mix the almond flour with the same amount of spice, minimum 1 teaspoon each.
Preheat your oven to 350.
Place a greased baking rack on a sheet pan.
With tongs, remove a tender from the liquid, give it a little shake, then dredge into the almond flour mixture. Flip it around a bit and get it good and covered. Then give the tender a little shake before placing it on the baking rack. Repeat until all the tenders are on the rack.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them once. These do NOT look beautiful. But they taste great and you’ll be pouring cream gravy all over them so it doesn’t matter how they look.
While the tenders bake:
GLUTEN FREE CREAM GRAVY
1 small red or white onion, chopped fine
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese (let it sit out as you prep the chicken)
1/2 lb pork sausage (optional)
In a skillet, sauté the onion until soft. If you have some bacon fat, sauté the onion in the bacon fat. It makes it even better and taste more authentic.
NOTE: if you want a sausage cream gravy, add the sausage to the onion and cook at the same time until the sausage is no longer pink. Sure you can still use bacon fat. Yum.
This is when normally you’d add flour. Instead, pour in your cream and let simmer, stirring with a whisk, adding shakes of salt, pepper, white pepper (don’t skip this) and thyme. Taste. See if you need more seasoning.
As it simmers, add in the cream cheese. It mixes easier if it’s come to room temp and you crumble it. Keep stirring with a whisk until all the cream cheese is incorporated and the gravy has thickened.
You will not tell a difference without the flour!