Minnesota Cooking: Beef on Toast - Also Known as Comfort Food
Comfort Food May Not Be Pretty
Over the years, my mother made a version of this dish. She called it Chipped Beef on Toast. Or she called it Tuna on Toast. But, as my sister pointed out, you may hear her call it those things, but, it was never accurate. For example, one day, she decided to make it with canned asparagus. There was no chipped beef, nor was there any tuna. But, she still called it Tuna on Toast.
Comfort food may not be pretty, but it's what's inside that counts. My comfort food dish today is a combination of things that a person would not normally think of combining, but when it is combined, all the flavors and textures commingle and create a dish that warms from within, almost like getting a gentle hug from your mom. Smile.
The ingredients I used, were butter, onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, beef, boiled eggs, peas, mushroom soup, milk, black pepper, seasoned salt, and poultry seasoning.
- 1/2 cup onions, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 12 ounce ribeye steak, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
- 7 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 16 ounces sweet peas, thawed from frozen
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 1 1/2 cans milk, 15 ounces
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, Lawry's
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 4 tablespoons butter, for the celery mixture
- 2 cups mushrooms, frozen fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Melt butter on medium heat in large pan. Cut celery, onions and mushrooms and place in pan. Add minced garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning. 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Cook until browned. Slice one steak into small pieces and add to mixture.
- Peel eggs. Double cut in egg slicer, to make small pieces. Thaw 16 ounce bag of sweet peas.
- Once celery mixture is browned, add 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of milk to mixture. Add peas. Add eggs. Then, add another half can of milk.
- Bring to boil, and turn down to medium low heat and simmer. After it starts to thicken, turn down to low heat and let cook for 3 hours. It's ready to eat after thickened, but you can let it slow cook.
- If you have leftovers, refrigerate and reheat the next day.
Caramelizing is Important
I caramelized my onions, my celery and my mushrooms. Which simply means, I placed half a stick of butter in my frying pan on medium heat and added the onions and celery to the melted butter. Since my mushrooms are fresh and are frozen, I put some water in them and let them thaw a bit while the onions and celery are frying.
After a bit, I placed the mushrooms on one side of the pan, and coated them with some of the hot butter. Then, I stirred everything together and let it fry. The whole point of frying these ingredients is to brown them so that you get that tangy, caramelized flavor. The caramelizing process takes about twenty minutes, so you can peel your eggs and get everything else ready while they caramelize.
This is where your choices come in. Today, I had a frozen ribeye steak that was in a package of three and I had previously cooked two of the three, and left this steak, but since there were two of us to cook for, I decided to use it in my concoction.
Now, in the past, my mother would tell us she was making Tuna on Toast. The thing about her, was that she'd say tuna, but the meat might not be tuna. She might use canned asparagus instead, or dried chipped beef, or something we had never dreamed of. You just never quite knew what to expect.
Now, my husband and I, have modified it to be a bag of Sweet and Hot beef jerky. I use a scissors and cut the jerky pieces smaller and I make it with that. This steak idea was simply a matter of using up things that were just sitting idle in my freezer.
I hard boiled almost a dozen eggs. I peeled them and cut them twice in an egg slices. You slice them one direction, and then, put them back in and carefully cut across the cuts you previously made.
If all goes well, you get smaller pieces of egg.
The Soups and Rest of the Stuff
Open the Cream of Mushroom soup and scrape into the steak/onion mixture in pan. Add a can of milk. Stir. Add a 16 oz package of peas that are thawed, but not cooked yet. Now, add the eggs that you have chopped up. I added another half can of milk after I added the eggs.
Stir together. Heat to boiling, turn down to simmer and let everything cook for a while until it merges. It will continue to thicken as it merges. Turn heat to low and serve. Refrigerate leftovers and reheat the next day.
I almost forgot to tell you that this dish is a gravy, that gets spooned over freshly buttered toast. Or, you can cook jumbo round buttermilk biscuits and eat it with them. It would probably taste good on noodles, as well.
You can eat it on a plate or in a bowl. With a fork, or with a spoon.
For leftovers: An easy method of cooking the biscuits is to heat the mixture to boiling, pour into a baking dish, place your raw biscuits across the top of the ingredients in the baking dish and bake in a 375 degree oven until the biscuits are golden brown.