January 09, 2011

Comfort Food: Cream Dried Beef

I had to have some dental surgery last week, and consequently have been eating a lot of soft food ever since- mashed potatoes, pudding, and jello.  I had a lot of things to do this week at work, and probably pushed myself more than I should have, so I had to take Friday off work as a sick day.  Dental pain can be just unrelenting!

At lunchtime I made an old favorite that doesn't require much chewing.  Cream Dried Beef is sometimes referred to in polite company as S.O.S., but I've always liked it.  My husband doesn't share the love.  Maybe you had to grow up with it.

This recipe is very easy to make, as long as you pay attention to the cream sauce.  Also, if you're unfamiliar with dried beef, it's found in the packaged cold cuts section of the grocery store.  I like Ulrich's Dried Beef, which is made just down the road in Pella, Iowa, but other companies also sell it.  It tastes a little bit like pastrami.

Cream Dried Beef - Serves 1 or 2

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2.5 ounces dried beef

In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat.  Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. 

When the mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat and stir in the milk very slowly.

Put the saucepan back on the heat, and heat until boiling, stirring the entire time.  If you get lazy with the stirring, you'll end up with a less than smooth sauce, and the floury chunks taste a lot like library paste (ask me how I know!).

Take the dried beef out of its packaging.  It's sliced very thinly, and all you have to do is crumble it into small pieces into the bubbling white sauce.

Stir the dried beef into the sauce, and while you're waiting for it to get warmed up by the sauce, toast the desired amount of bread.  When making this dish for just one person, 2 slices of bread is enough.  The recipe makes enough to feed 2 people if you toast 2 slices of bread per person., but since I was home alone, the cats were happy to have my leftover sauce. They don't care much for toast, so I didn't make them any. 
Cut the toasted bread into bite-sized squares.

Then cover with the creamed beef mixture.  I like to sprinkle extra black pepper on top.


  1. You are bringing back memories of Ulrich meats. I always loved this as a child. I'm sure it won't be the same with another brand.

  2. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes dried beef! Ulrich's Cheddar Cheese Meat Sticks are another favorite of mine.