The Cat's Meow

Dear Sir:

The following recipe is a contribution to Sunset Magazine's Chefs of the West. We enjoy it as an extremely simple, hearty meal. Since I usually have most of the ingredients in my kitchen, it's easy to prepare after coming home late or for a Sunday brunch. It's based on my Father's rendition of the Navy's culinary delight known as S.O.S. (but I was always taught to call it chipped beef on toast). My desire was to introduce some contrasts with the sour of the capers and the lemon juice just barely present, and the piquant flavor of the chili sauce barely noticeable. This dish offers many flavors to be sorted out on the tongue, contrasting textures, and lots of color. Out of humble beginnings...

By the way, if you aren't familiar with SOS as a food, it had nothing to do with a distress signal. Ask a WWII sailor.

The Cat's Meow

James Speed Hensinger

Makes 2 large servings.

2 2.5 oz. packages of lean smoked, sliced, chopped, pressed, cooked beef - julienned (This description is straight from the package label of the Carl Buddig brand. I find it in the packaged luncheon meat section of the grocery and keep it in my freezer.)

1/16 teaspoon garlic puree, or clove garlic mashed and minced
1/16 teaspoon Vietnamese chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 10 3/4 oz can Campbell's cream of mushroom condensed soup
3 tablespoons capers (drained)
teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 4 oz can whole Anaheim (a.k.a. California) green chilies (washed, seeded, and chopped)
2-4 large mushrooms sliced


2 English muffins (split and toasted)
6 stalks of cooked asparagus (optional)


2 green onions (chopped)
8 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
10 cilantro sprigs (Strip leaves and chop them. Discard stems.)

Warm two plates in the oven.

Add everything EXCEPT underlayment and garnishes to a small sauce pan, cover and warm over low heat. Simmer 10 minutes, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Serve over toasted English muffins topped with the asparagus.

Garnish with tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro.


James Speed Hensinger

Copyright © J. S. Hensinger