Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chipped Beef on Toast

You might be surprised to find this recipe on my food blog.  One, it’s pretty simple, and Two, it’s a much maligned dish in the eyes (or mouths) of many.  But I actually like the dish, and I thought it might be a fun if not obscure little dish to share with you. 

As it can be made with shelf-stable ingredients, this dish was a mainstay for the American military throughout much of the Twentieth Century.  It was from this environment that it developed its other moniker, “S.O.S,” which in polite circles is said to mean ‘Same Old Stuff,’ as the dish was served quite often, or ‘Save Our Stomachs,’ but of course, this being coined by servicemen, the more common, more crude meaning was ‘Shit on a Shingle.’

Apologies for using such a word on a food blog, but, I strive for accuracy.  We’ll move on now.

Chipped beef is a really interesting product.  It can be found at your local grocery store in the canned meat section, but it isn’t canned.  

It is merely sealed in a glass jar, as the beef has been dried and heavily salted, making it shelf-stable for perhaps years. 

You could of course make this recipe with non-dried beef, and it might be even tastier.  I have visions of someday making it with my smoked brisket, and I bet that would be good.  But here I will present you with the authentic, more or less, version that you would find in military mess halls or galleys.  This is the version that I first tried—not in the military, but at an aviation commissary that served a great deal of former military personnel.  When I’d seen it, I thought it didn’t look very appetizing, but so many people were raving about it, I had to try it.  I found it actually somewhat tasty, and started making it at home a short while later, usually for breakfast. 

Chipped Beef on Toast

3 Tablespoons Butter
2.5 Oz (1 Jar) Dried Beef, Shredded
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Slices Toast

Melt Butter in a skillet.  

When it has melted, sift in the flour... 

...and allow it to cook for a minute or so, then stir.  

Add the milk... 

...and allow this to cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring it occasionally. 

Meanwhile, shred your beef.  I find a pizza cutter works well for this, 

but any old knife will work, or you can even tear it with your hands if necessary. 

Add the Cayenne 

and the Worcestershire 

to the skillet mixture, then add the beef and stir. 

Resist the temptation to add any salt to the dish, the beef has plenty of salt in it already.

Pour over toast 

and serve. 

Until next time,



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