Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, often referred to by its nickname “S.O.S.,” which stands for “Sh** on a Shingle,” is a classic American dish that has its roots in military cuisine, particularly popular with the U.S. Army. It’s known for being a quick, hearty, and economical meal. The dish consists of thinly sliced dried beef that is mixed with a roux-based cream sauce and often served over toasted bread.
If you’d like to make it at home, here’s a basic recipe:
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 8 ounces of dried beef, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Toasted bread for serving
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Prepare the Beef: Rinse the dried beef in warm water to remove some of the surface salt. Chop the beef into small pieces.
- Make the Roux: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, sprinkle the flour over the butter, whisking to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes. This is your roux, which will thicken the sauce.
- Create the Cream Sauce: Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk to prevent lumps. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Add the Beef: Add the chopped beef to the sauce, stirring to ensure it’s evenly distributed.
- Season the Dish: Season with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning, but be cautious with salt since the beef is already salty.
- Toast the Bread: While the sauce is cooking, toast your bread until it’s golden brown and crispy.
- Assemble the Dish: Place the toasted bread on plates and pour the creamed beef over the toast.
- Garnish and Serve: If desired, sprinkle with chopped parsley for a bit of color and freshness. Serve hot.
Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast is often served for breakfast or dinner and can be accompanied by eggs or a simple side salad to round out the meal. It’s a comforting, stick-to-your-ribs type of dish that can be prepared relatively quickly, making it perfect for a simple family meal.