July 28, 2011

Tongue in Cheek? No, in Macaroni!

Today's recipe comes from a 1977 magazine clipping of unknown origin, saved by my mom, which promises, "You'll love them hot or cold." No, I won't! I'm certain that she saved this page for the Poached Fillets with Caper Sauce or the Oven-Fried Chicken with Basil Salt or possibly the Sausage and Spinach Pie, all of which sound pretty appealing as a hot dish. I'm not enticed by the thought of a cold savory egg pie or cold flounder, but I agree that fried chicken is good at any temperature. In any case, I'm quite sure it was not saved for the Tongue and Macaroni Salad recipe.

I know, you're probably thinking, "Oh, she doesn't like anything that includes tongue" - and you are absolutely right! I just can't enjoy a dish whose recipe includes the instruction to boil for 2 hours, then "remove skin; trim and discard bone and gristle." This particular tongue recipe brings together an especially odd concoction, one that I dare say might daunt even a hard-core tongue afficianado. A four-pound (!) smoked beef tongue, two cups of pitted prunes (which had not yet found their true identity as "nature's candy" in 1977), walnuts, and curry powder come together to spoil the traditional macaroni salad ingredients of elbow macaroni, celery, mayo and mustard. The anonymous (I'm not surprised) creator of this recipe just couldn't leave well-enough alone, thus taking macaroni from classic picnic dish to the culinary equivilent of the face only a mother could love.

1 4-pound smoked beef tongue
1 8-ounce package elbow macaroni
1 TBS. butter or margarine
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups of thinly sliced celery
1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, each cut into quarters
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 TBS. prepared mustard
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

In an 8-quart dutch oven or saucepot over high heat, heat to boiling the smoked beef tongue and enough water to coveer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours until tongue is fork-tender. Plunge tongue into cold water to cool slightly; remove skin; trim and discard bones and gristle from the thick end of tongue. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces; set aside and keep warm. Meanwhile, cook macaroni as label directs; drain and keep warm. In a small saucepan over medium heat, in hot butter or margarine, cook walnuts 3 to 4 minutes until toasted. In large bowl, combine tongue, macaroni, walnuts, celery, and remaining ingredients until well mixed. Spoon onto large platter (odd choice of presentation, no?). Makes 8 servings

To serve cold, early in day, prepare recipe as above; cover bowl and refrigerate. Just before serving, with rubber spatula, stir 1/2 cup of milk into tongue mixture until well mixed. Serve as above.

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