The most iconic of all military meals – Creamed Chipped Beef is a delicious mixture of dried, chipped beef with onions and peas in a creamy sauce served over toasted bread.
Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! (Well it at least it was when I wrote this post!) Which started me thinking that I should share with you my recipe for Creamed Chipped Beef with Peas on Toast.
It also has me wanting to share a little more with you about my family and why this recipe means much more to me than dinner.
For most of us, Memorial Day is a nice long weekend with a break from work and a chance to get together with friends and family to celebrate the start of summer. School’s already out in some places and the weather is warm. Perfect time to celebrate, right?
While we’re celebrating the change of season, let’s all remember what Memorial Day is really about. It’s not a holiday to mark the start of summer. It’s a time to remember servicemen and women who gave everything for our country.
🎖 What Do We Celebrate on Memorial Day?
For anyone who may not know, Memorial Day started out after the Civil War as “Decoration Day” and was designated as a time for citizens to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers and to honor the sacrifice they gave for their country. The first observance was held in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.
It became an official holiday much later, in 1971. Today, Memorial Day honors all who have fallen in war, not just those from the Civil War. It’s good for people to look back I think and remember those who have given their lives protecting ours.
Our Family’s Military Members
Military service wasn’t something I was very familiar with until I met BeeBop. When we met, he was an active duty member of the U. S. Navy. He served for 10 years as a nuclear reactor operator on a submarine and later as a Navy recruiter.
His service took him from Idaho to Charleston, South Carolina, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, plus deployments throughout the Mediterranean and even to the North Pole. Not only did he serve, but so did his father and brother.
BeeBop’s dad, Charles, was a 24-year U. S. Air Force veteran who served in both Korea and Vietnam and his brother, Jim, did a 4-year stint in the U. S. Army.
BeeBop’s uncles also served. His Uncle Bill was in the Army for 4 years serving in Vietnam and his Uncle Larry was a full colonel Army helicopter pilot who retired as base commander at Ft. Rucker.
Military service wasn’t really a tradition in my family. However, both my grandmother’s brothers, Bud and Toby, served in World War II. I’m not sure what role Uncle Toby played, but I do know that Uncle Bud was a tail gunner.
To each and every one of them and to all the men and women who have served in the past and continue to serve today, I say a humble thank you for your service. This country would not enjoy the freedoms that we daily take for granted without your sacrifices.
🍽 An Iconic Military Meal – SOS
In honor of those who did and do serve, I wanted to do something a bit different for a Memorial Day recipe. Instead of grilling and barbecuing, I thought I’d share a recipe that is one of the most iconic of all military meals – Creamed Chipped Beef.
Those of you who served will know this by its more colorful title of SOS. If you don’t know what “SOS” means, well just ask anyone you know who has served in the military! For this post, I’m just going to call it Creamed Chipped Beef with Peas!
❤ Why We Love This Recipe
- Despite it’s colorful name it does taste really good
- Comfort food that will leave you with that warm belly feeling
- Really inexpensive way to feed your family
🥘 Ingredient Notes
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There’s nothing whatsoever exotic about the ingredients in this recipe but I do have a few notes for you.
- Green onions (substitute any kind of onion you have on hand if you like)
- Dried chipped beef (this may be the only ingredient you have to specifically look for; the most popular brand is probably Buddig and you’ll find it near the canned meats (such as tuna) in your store)
- Diced pimiento (now, as a southerner I always-always-always have pimiento on hand. If you don’t it’s easy to find or you can also substitute diced roasted red bell pepper)
- Green peas (I use frozen but canned work just as well)
- Toasted bread (I prefer sourdough but use what you have)
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
🔪 How to Make Creamed Chipped Beef
Chipped, dried beef is not something I purchase very often, so it took me a minute to actually find it in my grocery store. I did remember from way back when that it comes in jars but I was looking for it with the sandwich meats. You’ll find it where the canned meats are located. It’ll be alongside the tuna, potted meat, and Vienna sausages :-)
This is my personal recipe and I’ve added a few things that Creamed Chipped Beef normally doesn’t contain. If you want a strictly traditional SOS recipe, omit the onions, pimiento, and peas. However, I think they add a lot in terms of flavor and especially in appearance.
Prep the Beef
Briefly rinse the dried beef under warm water. For a traditional preparation, tear it into strips and let it drain on paper towels.
Chop the Green Onions
Chop the green onions.
Cook the Beef, Onions, and Flour
In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and chipped beef. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and beef and continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.
Stir in the pepper. Bring the mixture to a strong bubble, then reduce the heat and cook until thickened. Taste the mixture and see if you think it needs any salt. It probably won’t because the beef is quite salty.
Stir in Pimientos and Peas
Stir in the pimiento and peas and cook for a few minutes until the peas are heated through.
🍽 What to Serve with Creamed Chipped Beef
Serve over toasted bread. I prefer a good sourdough bread for this.
Besides the toast, not much else is usually served with creamed chipped beef. It’s a pretty heavy comfort dish so if you do want to add a side or a dessert go for something light like fresh cut fruit or a salad. If you want to get fancy, you could try my Pineapple Blueberry Basil Galette, Fresh Strawberry Pie, or a beautiful Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries.
🍚 Storing and Reheating
Creamed chipped beef should keep 4-5 days properly stored in the fridge. To reheat, transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat. You may need to add in a small amount of milk or water to get it back to a smooth gravy consistency. Be sure to stir often and watch closely as it can burn quickly.
Freezing is not recommended.
❓ Questions About Creamed Chipped Beef
Honestly, there aren’t that many brands of dried beef on the market. Probably the best known, and the one I use, is Buddig.
Yes! Chipped beef and dried beef are the same thing. However, when the product was first introduced it was actually very thin slivers of sliced beef that had been dried. Now, it’s made from ground beef that is pressed, then dried and thinly sliced.
If you’re having trouble finding dried chipped beef, or if your supermarket is out you can substitute deli meat. Select either corned beef or roast beef and request it sliced as thinly as possible. Another good substitute would be very thinly sliced sandwich ham.
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Creamed Chipped Beef
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 green onions sliced
- 2.5 ounces chipped beef torn into strips
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons diced pimiento
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- 8 slices bread toasted (sourdough preferred)
- Rinse the beef under warm water. Tear into shreds and drain on paper towels.
- In a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
- Add the green onions and chipped beef. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and beef and continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a strong bubble, then reduce the heat and cook until thickened.
- Stir in the pimiento and peas and cook for a few minutes until the peas are heated through.
- Serve over toasted bread.
- Dried chipped beef is usually located near the canned meats (such as tuna) in your store.
- May be refrigerated for 4-5 days. To reheat, transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat. You may need to add in a small amount of milk or water to get it back to a smooth gravy consistency.
- Freezing is not recommended.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.