There are lots of stories out there about this famous dish. Some go all the way back to the 1400s when sailors plied the seas with limited rations. Thinly sliced, salted and dried beef has been around for hundreds of years but until these tasty recipes came along, this dish was not considered to be much of a comfort food.
For the budget conscious cook, this is a wonderful way to fill up without spending much money.
The most important ingredient is the chipped beef. In the old days, salted sheets of dried beef had to be rinsed before cooking to reduce the salty taste. This simple recipe eliminates the need to rinse — and, in fact, no additional salt is needed.
In addition to grated Parmesan, you might like to top your bread slices with just about any of your favorite grated, sliced or shredded cheeses.
There are at least three ways to create this mouth-watering dish. Here are three of my favorites:
Powdered Cream Soup Base is my preferred method of creating a thick, rich cream sauce. The product is readily available at any restaurant supply store and most are more than eager to sell to the public.
To 2 cups boiling water whisk in 6 tablespoons soup base. Dissolve one beef bullion cube and add 2-3 drops of Tabasco. While whisking, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened. Add your cut-up beef slices and just that quickly, dinner is ready.
I heated cut green beans as a side dish and toasted my Parmesan bread under the broiler.
To 2 cups cold milk whisk in 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Bring slowly to the boil, watching constantly, as milk likes to boil over. Dissolve on beef bullion cube and add 2-3 drops Tabasco. When thickened, add your sliced beef and dinner is ready.
Some folks like heavy cream for the up-front richness but it does add a lot of fat to the dish.
For that professional, restaurant “finish” simply melt a tablespoon of real butter into the fully heated dish. Ladle equally over four slices of cheesy Italian bread and enjoy.
This recipe may be increased as needed. I have served 300 people at one sitting using the one cup liquid per person formula. Of course, that’s a lot of scissor work, but I had a staff to help with that chore.