This recipe appears in the 1910, 1916, and 1917 editions of the Manual for Army Cooks. The dish is one of the earlier Army recipes for chipped beef on toast. It was originally designed for 60 men, so I experimented with the measurements to reduce the recipe to four servings. My recipe for chipped beef follows the historic Army recipe.
Beef, Chipped (Manual for Army Cooks)
My dad and I made this recipe a couple of months ago, but we did not scald the beef before cooking. It was extremely salty, but we still ate it. The second time I made this dish, I took the “If the beef is very salty, it should be scalded before cooking” to an extreme. I covered the beef with boiling water and let it rest for 3-4 minutes. Every remnant of salt was gone, and the beef was a little bland. This time, I looked up the definition of scald in the manual’s index (something I should have done first), and it said: “To scald utensils, etc.; to dash over with boiling water” (War Department Doc. No. 564, p. 20). I took the etc to mean anything, so I put the dried beef in a colander and poured boiling water over it. It removed enough of the salt to make the dish fairly tasty.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 heaping tablespoons of flour (about ¼ cup)
- 1½ cups beef stock
- 1½ cups evaporated milk
- 1 cup dried beef (2 jars, 4.5 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slices of toast
- Place the beef in a colander, and scald with boiling water. Do not let the beef remain in the water as it will remove all salt. Drain well; chop beef into bite-size pieces and reserve.
- Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium size cast iron skillet. Add the flour, and cook for a couple of minutes, until the flour is well dissolved. Add milk and beef stock, and mix well. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until mixture thickens to desired consistency. Add the beef and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Add parsley just before serving. Add one or two scoops of chipped beef per slice of toast.