Sunday, January 9, 2011

Comfort Food on a Cold Winter's Night

When we were kids, my mother prepared creamed chipped beef often and we relished every bite. We usually ate it for breakfast over slices of homemade toast. Sometimes she would make savory versions adding mushrooms and seasoning it with sherry and fresh ground black pepper. It made for a comforting dinner on a cold winter's night.

The first few days of 2011 we spent in a log cabin situated on the top of a mountain near Winchester, Virgina. Blustery nights screamed for comfort food, so one night I prepared my mother's savory version of this popular 1950's classic. I spooned it over well toasted English muffins. It had been years since Nick and I had savored the flavors that come from homemade creamed chipped beef and we were in heaven. We enjoyed it so much, (you know when you've eaten something you can't stop thinking about) I've prepared it a few times since we've been home. It's just hard to resist the salty, creamy, flavor-filled combination that gets caught in all those nooks and crannies for which the English muffin is so noted.

Helpful to know: Dried beef can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores nationwide.

Creamed Chipped Beef

4 tablespoons butter

One 8-ounce package white mushrooms or about 6-8 medium mushrooms, sliced

One 4-ounce package dried beef, chopped into bite size pieces

4 tablespoons flour

2½ cups milk

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a medium pan, over moderate heat, melt butter. Saute mushrooms until soft, add dried beef and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, when mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat and simmer until serving time. Season with cooking sherry and black pepper.

4 English muffins, split in half

Toast English muffins, (we prefer them crispy brown in spots) and spoon creamed chipped beef over each muffin half. Serve immediately. Serves 4.