Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Gluten-free SOS

Michael Sedano

"Come on, crawl on out of there!"

Sergeant Pinkerton, Pinkie, strode through the barrack every day at 6 a.m. and thus the day began in the admin area of Bravo Battery 7th of the 5th air defense artillery. A regular Army breakfast is the same every day, choose eggs, bacon, pancakes, avena, dry cereal, papas, toast, coffee, milk. The treat is lunch and dinner. 

Hey Cookie, what's for chow? When we're in luck, the menu is everybody's favorite, "shit on a shingle," S O S, or as the white-clad cook reports, Creamed Beef on Toast.

Every once in a while, an old soldier has to have some SOS. The Gluten-free Chicano is no different and that once in a while arrived recently. SOS has a warm spot in many a soldier's and Veteran's heart. It truly tastes delicious and is so hearty a food for a cold day. In fact, my Dad used to ask my Mom to make SOS, but as a kid we had it with dried salted beef from a jar.

At any rate, the recipe is incredibly simple, it's probably the first dish Army cooks learn to make. In Plague-time with its depleted stores and larders, SOS might be the only food in the house! And if you don't have shingles, mashed potatoes or cauliflower are tasty. If you don't use papas, this is not only gluten-free, it's low carb chow.

The Gluten-free Chicano does not eat bread, of course not. So this meal features steamed cauliflower as the base. You can use mashed potatoes instead.

SOS - Estilo Gluten-free Chicano

Ground beef
Gluten-free baking mix
half and half
salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion
Fresh cauliflower

The Gluten-free Chicano cooks for two, so this preparation involved a scant half pound of 90-10 ground beef. A higher fat ratio produces more liquid and flavor in the gravy.

Steam the cauliflower and trim away the core and stems. At Casa Sedano, la chickenada devoured that cooked stem. You can slice it and serve it for dinner.

Spray a frying pan with non-stick coating if you wish. It makes clean-up easier. 

Over medium flame, add a small amount of olive oil, garlic powder, onion, salt, coarsely ground black peppercorns to heat, adding the ground meat and breaking it up.

I added Turmeric powder for color and salutary benefits.

Brown up the meat.

When the meat is fully cooked, add a quarter cup of gluten-free baking flour and stir it into the cooked meat.

Stir a little  half and half, or milk, into the pan and let it begin to thicken. Add the rest of your liquid to thin it down. Stir and cook until the gravy reaches the right viscosity for you. 

Thin with tap water if you want. If you over-thin with water or milk, cook it a few minutes longer, stirring constantly. It'll thicken for you.

Turmeric gives a nice orange tint to the dirty-white gravy. If you want to tickle the heartstrings of an old GI, find a banged-up metal tray and serve.

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