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S.O.S. - ‘Stuff’ on a Shingle


Chuck Hayes, Newborn, Georgia -

My father started his military career rather humbly; as a cook.  He eventually went on to chef school through the Marine Corps and ended up cooking exclusively for a General in 29 Palms, California.  One of the stapes of military life back then was creamed chipped beef (Known as S.O.S. by soldiers----can’t repeat the “colorful” name that S.O.S. actually stands for---family article and all.  It is also short for Same Ol Stuff too).  Made in huge vats and served to 1000’s of soldiers a day it was looked at with as much disdain as admiration.  Why?  Because they were served it often—very often.  And as for the admiration---IT IS GOOD!  REAL GOOD!  My dad made it for the family every now and then, and I just knew that when I got out on my own that I had to learn how to make it too.  In its simplest form it is just dried beef in a white sauce with a pinch of cayenne pepper served over toast.  The dried beef is cured with salt, so this dish is a little salty.  But if you wish follow the tip below to reduce it a bit.

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner this is comfort food at its best.  Let me know what you think.


Serves 4

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups warm milk
• 1 (8 ounce) jar dried beef chopped course
• 1 pinch cayenne pepper
• Few grinds of black pepper

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour all at once to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until thickened. Bring to a boil, stir in beef and cayenne, heat through and serve over toast.

TIP: If you find this dish too salty, soak the beef in cold water for about 10 minutes, and drain. Try a piece, if it’s still too salty, soak in fresh water for 10 more minutes.

Tip:  It can also be made with ¾ pound browned, drained hamburger.


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