Kitchen Stories- Creamed Beef

Creamed Beef is one of my favorite comfort foods. It is a beef stew recipe comprising of either ground beef or chipped beef (dried & salted) in white sauce and served on top of toasted bread. It actually has its origins from the US Army- dried meats and other food that didn't require refrigeration were sent to feed US troops back in the 1900's and they came up with this delicious combination of ground meat in a creamy sauce that can be served on toast, with mashed potatoes or even pasta.

I had my first taste of Creamed Beef in my younger years, during the summers my family and I would spend in Baguio City. After Sunday mass, we would proceed to Camp John Hay, a former rest and recreation facility for American soldiers, to have brunch at the 19th Tee Coffee Shop. I remember looking forward to having my fill of this now standard diner fare. If you grew up in the 70's & 80's and spent at least a summer vacation in Baguio, I'm sure you can relate to this. I actually miss the old Camp John Hay and our steak dinners at the Main Club and all those ice cream sundaes at the Scout Hill Snack Bar.

My mom, on seeing how much we loved this Creamed Beef dish, recreated the recipe at home. We were more than pleased with the results and knowing that we could enjoy it anytime in the comforts of our home made us very happy.

Today, my sister is the one in charge of cooking this dish for us and I'm glad Bianca loves it as much as I do. We have our regular "taco nights" and now we'll be adding "creamed beef nights" just to add some excitement and make us look forward to having dinner at home.

My sister's recipe uses lean ground beef instead of dried beef and with the addition of red bell peppers and fresh mushrooms, I'm thinking this is a  healthier version than the original. Give it a try!

Creamed Beef Recipe

500 grams lean ground beef
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 red bell pepper diced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms cleaned & sliced (we used portobello)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
olive oil
salt & pepper

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, stirring frequently until mushrooms start to release their moisture, about 1-2 minutes. Continue cooking until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms start to turn dark brown. This should take about another 5 minutes. As soon as the mushrooms are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

In another pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add diced red bell pepper and cook about 1 minute before adding beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook beef until browned, stirring often. Pour in mushroom soup and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve hot over sliced bread or mini french baguette and top with cooked sliced mushrooms. Serves four.

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