What Is Creamed Chipped Beef?

S.J. Merens

Chipped beef is dried, thinly sliced and salted beef that is available as lunch meat in the refrigerated section of many supermarkets or as a shelf-stable version that comes in jars. It also might be available in the deli section of a supermarket or at a local butcher shop. Creamed chipped beef is a traditional meal that involves combining chipped beef with a cream sauce. It's typically served warm as a topping.

Some cooks add creamed chipped beef to hash browns, mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.
Some cooks add creamed chipped beef to hash browns, mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.

To prepare a sauce for creamed chipped beef, a cook will need milk, flour, butter or margarine, salt and pepper. For the best-tasting results, many people believe that butter and whole milk should be used. Another spice, such as nutmeg, garlic or cayenne, also could be added if desired. The ingredients are whisked together in a saucepan until the sauce thickens. The beef is then separated into small pieces or shredded, and it is added after the sauce is ready.

Probably the most common way to serve this mixture is over toast as an open-faced sandwich. It also makes a tasty topping for biscuits and English muffins. For something different, the beef and sauce can be poured over garlic bread.

A cook also might try adding creamed chipped beef to hash browns, mashed potatoes or baked potatoes. For extra richness, the bread or potatoes can be buttered. Non-traditional additions to this meal include chopped hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, onions or other vegetables. For a different twist, smoked chipped beef can be used.

This tasty concoction is a relatively inexpensive and easy dish to make, and it works well for any meal. People enjoy it for breakfast, as reflected by its place on breakfast menus at some diners as a sort of twin to sausage and gravy. Served with scrambled or over-easy eggs, it makes a hearty start to the day. It can also be served for lunch or dinner along with a side salad or steamed vegetables. Frozen brand-name versions also are available for people who don't have the time to prepare it themselves.

Creamed chipped beef is sometimes known by one of several nicknames. As a common meal in the military, the toast long ago gained the nickname “shingle,” and the creamed beef topping was called a more vulgar word. Yet this dish has remained a popular comfort food.

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