Creamed “Chipped” Mushrooms on Toast

2017-04-26

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by John Currence

This recipe and following excerpt is from the book Big Bad Breakfast: The most Important Book of the Day
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Book Review

Creamed chipped beef on toast is the first thing I remember my dad cooking me for breakfast, quite probably because he confided to me that they called it shit on a shingle in the military. That’s really good stuff for a six-or seven-year-old. Despite the nickname, Dad’s chipped beef was delicious.

So when we got ready to open Big Bad Breakfast, it was one of the weird dishes I wanted on the menu, but no matter how hard we scoured the internet, the Armour brand of chipped beef I remember from childhood just didn’t exist anymore in bulk, nor did any reference to how to make it.

Turns out chipped beef was a product of World War II-era rationing, and apparently, I am the last of a generation to enjoy the licentious delicacy of yore. Perhaps it’s for the best. It was probably made from very cheap cuts of beef that were slivered and salt-cured. This enhanced the flavor and made for an almost eternal shelf life, both of which were good for battlefield gourmands. And maybe its disappearance is a testament to that. This version with dried mushrooms, however, is an excellent substitute and a killer vegetarian offering, while still achieving the “shit on a shingle” excitement.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups dried mixed wild mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and buttered

Directions

Step 1

Place the mushrooms in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover plus the 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mushrooms and cooking liquid to cool at room temperature in the pan. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the cooking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

Step 2

In a separate small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to turn transparent, about 1 minute. Add the chopped mushrooms and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and sautè, until warmed through and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and stir until well combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 3

In a small sautè pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until a roux forms. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until roux turns a light gold and gives off a nutty aroma, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the milk, ¾ cup of the reserved mushroom stock, the cayenne, and nutmeg and cook, whisking, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped mushrooms and parsley and simmer until thickened and velvety, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Spoon over the toast and serve immediately.

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