Round these parts, go into any good diner worth its PA Dutch salt and you will see creamed chipped dried beef on toast on the menu. It may sound strange, but it really isn't. In fact, I've decided that it's the kissing cousin of biscuits and sausage gravy down South. Not sure of the relations to the west, but there are elements of chicken fried steak that are similar. I was shocked to learn recently that this recipe is more commonly known as "Sh*t on a Shingle." The phrase seems to come from its overuse as a food in the army, which makes sense when you think about it. You use salted beef (long a staple of the farm) and dilute it with a quick gravy and serve it over bread that can just as easily be stale as fresh.
For a chilly fall or winter morning, it's a breakfast that will stick to your ribs most of the day without being too fattening. Because really, when you break down the ingredients, it's not that bad for you. Especially if you go organic, and go whole grain on the toast. Plus, you can make it all in about 5 minutes.
Start with some chipped dried beef. You might need to search for it. My favorite place to get it is at Dietrich's Meats. The Dietrichs' meats aren't organic, but they raise their own cows on grass locally, and do all their own processing. I have yet to find an organic source for dried beef. (Has anyone?) The phrase "chipped" refers to the cut of the beef: It means delicately, thinly sliced. And because it's dried, it can be salty. This is a dish you don't need to add salt to.
Creamed Chipped Dried Beef on Toast
Serves two people.
½ pound dried beef, chipped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup flour
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 pieces whole grain toast
1. Put the olive oil in a pan and heat it up. Add the chipped dried beef and sauté.
2. Put the toast in the toaster and toast.
3. Mix the flour and water together in a cup until there are no lumps.
4. Add to the sautéed beef mixture and stir until it's thickened like gravy (yes, it should look whitish).
5. Add the milk and stir for a minute.
6. Butter the toast.
7. Put the chipped dried beef and gravy on top of the toast, and eat up!
I like mine with fresh ground pepper on top.
Sh*t on a shingle? I don't think so!
For more from Maria Rodale go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.