by Cat, May 2012 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
The perfect comfort food of my childhood, this is one of the first foods I learned how to prepare for myself. Basically it’s a rich cream sauce with strips of dried beef stirred in, then served over buttered toast. If you like pictures of the process, see the photo-recipe blog: The Meaning of Pie: Chipped Beef on Toast (2)
But don’t use Hormel Dried Beef as cited in the referenced recipe, nor Armour brand of dried beef.This new-fangled commercial version is made with ground and formed beef (and perhaps also pink slime), then pressed into thin ‘slices.’ Unthinkable!
This fake food is nothing like what I knew as a child. The 1950s version was real thinly-sliced dried beef from a chunk of cured meat. So, like me, you’re best off making your own, using either a wet or dry cure as in links, below:
S.O.S. – Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast
It may seem like 3 – 4 ounces is not enough dried beef in a recipe that serves 2, but remember that dried beef has lost most of its moisture so weighs less for the same amount of protein than a fresh cut of beef.
As a kid, this was served on my Dad’s homemade white bread, but now I like it on a good rustic white bread or ciabatta (rustic sourdough).
Serves 2 (or 1 very hungry person).
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- dash paprika
- 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour or whole grain oat flour
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup cream
- 3 – 4 oz homemade dried beef (brine cure or dry cure), sliced very thin
- unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 – 3 slices toasted & buttered bread; white sourdough or rustic bread is nice
- If your dried beef is especially salty, rinse with warm water and pat dry. Then cut into strips and set aside.
- Melt butter over low heat; stir in paprika and cook for just a moment. Then add flour and stir briskly with fork or whisk to make a smooth roux.
- Slowly add cream and milk, stirring with fork or whisk to avoid lumps, and continue to cook while stirring until smooth and thickened.
- Add meat and stir, cooking just long enough to heat the strips. Adjust seasoning. You will probably not need much salt, and if you peppered your beef before drying, you won’t need much pepper either.
- Remove from heat and spoon over buttered toast.
Assembly or Serving Suggestions
I like to serve this with a big salad of fresh greens and veggies like green onions, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes, with a vinaigrette-type dressing (my fav is balsamic-basil vinaigrette).
I don’t have any recent testing notes, but this is a tried and true recipe used by me for 50 years, and by my Mom even longer than that. However, please note that the strips of beef add a lot of flavor to the cream sauce so be sure to taste before adjusting the seasoning.
- Cat’s recipe collection
- The Meaning of Pie: Chipped Beef on Toast (themeaningofpie.com/2011/08/chipped-beef-on-toast-s-o-s)