Army Cooks are Judged on Their SOS (Sausage gravy for those of a more sheltered upbrining)
Every Army cook’s reputation stands or falls on how well he can make SOS (S_ _ t On a Shingle). Although it is the first thing that often comes to mind when an ex GI thinks about crummy Army food, the reality is it’s probably what he enjoyed and ate the most.
One day I prepared the SOS and one soldier came back for thirds. He said it was good enough to reup for.
Sometimes when I watch one of those food shows that judge exotic dishes like Spotted Peruvian Seared Eel over Kenyan MooMoo tree bark, drizzled with Mongolian Yak snot with a zest of lemon I know that SOS would win out every time.
I’ve had some pretty good SOS in restaurants. The best are the ones who pay attention to detail.
Anyone can make SOS. It’s easy and tasty, no matter what. If attention is given to detail and good cooking methods employed it becomes outstanding.
Here’s How Ya Do It
If you wish to make it with ground beef or sausage, always use fresh. Older meats will dominate the flavor of the cream sauce.
When I was in the Army I liked to brown the ground beef or sausage on the grill in small portions. My reason for this is that when cooked in large portions the meat will actually boil in its juices rather than fry in its own fat. You want it to fry and not boil. Boiling will leave the meat rubbery and flat tasting whereas frying will make it tasty and crisp.
Start with a pound of ground beef or your favorite sausage. At home this can be done in a pan, but make sure the pan is pre-heated.You want a little sizzle when the meat hits the pan.
Once the meat is thoroughly cooked sprinkle in enough flour to absorb the excess grease and liquid. Stir the flour in until you have a nice pasty mixture binding the meat together. Set it aside.
Make a roux (¼ pound of butter and enough flour to make it pasty). At this point you may want it brown the roux slightly, but if not cook until it looses the smell of raw flour.
Next put the meat back on a medium burner. Stir in the rest of the roux and slowly add the milk (about one quart). Stir as you add. Allow it to simmer until it stops thickening.
I have added garlic to SOS also. Also for the amount described a cup of onions may be sauteed and added. Sprinkle salt and pepper to your preferance.
Cover and allow it to stand for about ten minutes before pouring it over toast or biscuits.