This past Sunday was my beloved Wife's Birthday. I normally work Sundays, but I took the day off so that we could spend it together. We had a really nice day, but then again every day we spend together is pretty damned good.
We caught the early showing of Inception at the movie theater. Really good movie. My expectations were pretty high after hearing other people's rave reviews, which is normally a set up for being disappointed. I enjoyed it a lot. We ran some errands, and then we went home so that I could make her the Birthday Dinner of her choice.
So what did she pick, having a wide variety of culinary delights to choose from?
Creamed chipped beef, on toast.
I crap you not.
When my Mrs and I first got together many years ago, I had been living on my own for several years. While I was living the fabulous bachelor life, it didn't take me long to discover that I couldn't afford take-out every night, and vienna sausages right out of the can soon lost its thrill. I bought some cookbooks and taught myself to cook.
As a result, I came to love cooking and continued to do most of it after we got married. Once, shortly after we got hitched, we found ourselves with slim pickings in the grocery department (as was often the case back then). Scrounging together some left overs, I whipped up my version of Creamed Chipped Beef - otherwise known to many as Sh*t on a Shingle. I couldn't believe that she had never tasted the dish before, and even more amazing was the fact that it immediately became a favorite of hers.
I have to admit, unfortunate nickname aside, it's pretty damned good the way I make it. You can scale the dish to fit whatever amount of meat you have, based on the proportions below:
Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast
4 Tbls Butter
4 Tbls Flour
1/2 onion, diced finely
salt/pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup broth (beef or chicken)
About 1 1/4 lb chopped or shredded beef roast
Slices of Toasted white bread
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add onions and cook until the onions are clear and starting to soften. Add flour and whisk it into the melted butter and onion mixture. This is forming a "roux", which will not only make the sauce taste good it will allow it to thicken later.
Allow the roux to cook over medium low heat for a couple of minutes. Stir occasionally with the whisk while its bubbling. Combine the milk and the broth and heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to get it hot. Add the milk/broth mixture to the roux and whisk it all together. Turn the heat up a bit, but don't go crazy or you'll burn the sauce. Whisk it pretty much continually until it starts to boil. Turn down the heat a bit and add the chopped beef.
I usually make this after cooking a potroast, and use the left over potroast. I have been know to cook an entire roast, though, purely with the intention of making chipped beef out of it :)
The cream gravy will thicken as it cooks above simmering temperature. Keep stirring the mixture until its as thick as you like and the meat is heated through. Serve over toasted bread with plenty of salt and pepper.