4 Tbsp. corn oil

3 lb. boneless chuck roast

2 tsp. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 stick butter

1/3 cup all purpose flour

5 cups whole milk

2 cups chicken broth, as needed

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

8 sliced buttered pistolettes

8 hardboiled eggs

2 Tbsp. minced parsley

First, take a Dutch oven large enough to comfortably hold a three-pound roast, place it on the stovetop, evenly drizzle in the corn oil, and set the flame to medium-high.

Then while the oil is coming up to heat, take the chuck roast, place it on the countertop and thoroughly sprinkle it all over with the beef seasoning, the onion powder, and the garlic powder.

Then, ease the roast into the Dutch oven and sear it top, bottom, and sides until it is richly browned. While all this is going on, pre-set the oven to 350 degrees.

Then when the beef is well seared, cover the pot tightly, slide it into the oven, and bake it for about 2 to 3 hours or until it comes out medium well.

When it's done, set it aside and allow it to cool to room temperature. Remember that you have to cook it long enough for it to crumble when you slice it. That's how you end up with real 'chipped beef.'

But let's go backwards for a minute.

While the roast is baking, take a heavy skillet and a wire whisk and, over medium heat, combine half the butter and most of the flour into a light roux.

But don't let it brown: you just want it silky smooth. And then, when it's ready, let it cool, too, and set it aside.

When you're ready to build the recipe, remove the roast from the Dutch oven, cut it into thin slices across the grain of the meat, and crumble it into small 'chips.'

And if you look inside the Dutch oven you will see all those baked-on drippings the beef left in the pan after it pot-roasted. That's called 'fond,' mainly because most good cooks are really fond of this stuff-it intensifies the flavor of the sauce or the gravy it eventually gets turned into.

And the way you do that is to take the half cup of chicken broth called for in the ingredients, pour it on top of the fond, heat the mixture to boiling, and deglaze the pot (which means you scrape loose all the pot stickin's and pan drippings).

At this point, you immediately pour the whole milk into the Dutch oven, drop in the chipped beef, increase the heat to medium high, and stir everything together until the mixture is uniform and starts to bubble slightly. Meanwhile, season the milk stock to taste with the salt and black pepper if you so desire.

Then begin adding the butter roux you made separately, a spoonful at a time, stirring it thoroughly into the hot milk stock. Keep an eye on it at this point, though, because as the temperature of the roux increases the milk stock will thicken.

Finally, when it reaches the consistency of 'soupy oatmeal,' gently stir in the rest of the butter, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the SOS simmer for about 40-45 minutes so that the milk picks up all the beef flavor.

By the way, I recommend that you stir the pot periodically to prevent the possibility of the milk solids sticking to the bottom.

Then when you're ready to eat, place two slices of toast or lightly browned pistolette halves on a heated plate and heap a generous helping of creamed beef all over the bread. All that's left is to drape a couple of egg slices on the beef, crown everything with a little extra fresh-ground black pepper to taste, and garnish the 'open face concoction' with a smidgen of fresh parsley.

I promise, it's a great way to face reveille.


Chef's Notes:

If you prepare the dish specifically as I've instructed, you will have a pot of authentic U. S. Army SOS. But for a tasty civilian variation, try this:

Finely chop a small yellow onion and about a half-pound of mushrooms. Then saute them in real butter until they are fully wilted. Finally, stir the pan ingredients into the milk stock when you add the chipped beef. The finished taste increases considerably.

The best SOS is always made from well-done, crumbled-up roast. But in a pinch, some folks also use extra lean ground beef. I suggest you first fry it down in a pan with a half-cup of finely chopped onions. Then use the rendered beef fat to make your roux. After that, it's simply a matter of following the recipe that I've described above. Honestly, it's okay, but it 'taint the real thing!

SOS is traditionally eaten for breakfast. But if you want to plan it for suppertime, you can skip the toast thing and serve it piping hot right over a pile of al dente elbow or bowtie pasta. Dat's good, too! Oh, yeah-like red beans, gumbo, and jambalaya, SOS is always better the next day. So if you want the best blend of flavor you can get, fix it today and serve it tomorrow!