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Ah yes…good ol’ fashion SOS, or the more polite name of creamed chipped beef on toast. Whether or not this classic was a true staple of The Greatest Generation during battle or merely a gastronomic legend, there is a definite love/hate relationship with this classic dish.
Nevertheless, SOS (Shit On a Shingle if you haven’t figured that out already) is a perfect weekday crowd-pleaser and stupid easy to make, although for some reason my wife hates it so I’m usually limited preparing this when she’s out of town. Hey, more for me!
Let’s get America fed!
If you haven’t noticed, my contributions thus far are not exactly what you would consider “health” food, but I still think it’s an improvement over fast food in general as you know what you are actually feeding your family. One thing I’ve been trying to eliminate from my diet has been processed meat, as the health issues of that stuff can be nasty. I fall off that wagon for this dish for purely traditional reasons. The pressed beef pictured above is certainly highly processed, but it’s what my mom used when I was a kid and we’re both still alive, so what the hell.
About 12 ounces pressed beef
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp flour
4 C 2% milk
Black pepper, lots
You’ll notice there’s no salt; that’s because the meat is dripping in it and is usually enough. In fact, give the beef a taste test to check the salt level. I made this once with dried beef from a jar because they were out of my usual stuff, and the finished product was so salty it was inedible. Soak the meat in fresh water several times if you need to bring the sodium level down a bit.
Milk-wise, whole milk is a bit heavy and skim is basically water, that’s why I like the 2%.
This is basically a cream gravy, or what Hoosiers call baby formula (start ’em young!). Most recipes I’ve seen start with making the gravy with the flour, fat and milk then add the meat later. What you end up with is a drab bechamel sauce with some meat in it. I prefer this technique because you brown the meat slightly in lots of butter, then add the flour to make a very flavorful roux.
Let’s look at some pictures so Pittsburgh fans can follow along:
Melt the butter and toss in the beef after slicing up into manageable pieces. Saute this over low heat until the meat gets a bit of color, then sprinkle the flour evenly over the top. This is the tricky part; the flour will stick to the bottom of the pan like a film. You have to constantly scrape this up with a spatula to keep it from burning. What you end up with is a pretty nasty looking mess:
Just keep scraping and stirring until the flour gobs up into little worms. Keep this up over medium heat until the flour worms get a little brown, this cooks out the cereal taste some cream gravies have.
Warm up the milk a bit in the microwave, then slowly stir into our meaty roux. Stir over medium-low heat until nice and thick, then grind in plenty of black pepper.
You can serve this with practically anything. I’ve poured it over eggs on English muffins, all kinds of biscuits just like the “hot” “breakfasts” offered at many of America’s “finer” hotel chains, you name it. I’m a traditionalist though, so it’s tough to beat the classic:
Gotta dig my slice of cypress coffee table!
Want to add a bit of chopped mushroom? Sure, wouldn’t say no to some diced onion either. This is best added while cooking the roux. I’ve even cheated and tossed in some dehydrated minced onion, which is surprisingly good.
This makes quite a bit, you can halve the recipe of course as I’ve found after a couple days in the fridge the gravy can start to separate. It’s still good, just a bit thinner.
Give it a try, now HIT THE DECK AND GIVE ME TWENTY!!!!!