When browsing through hundred-year-old magazines, I came across a recipe for Creamed Macaroni and Dried Beef. This dish has a creamy, rich, white sauce that works perfectly with the macaroni and dried beef to create a comfort food that simultaneously seems both new and old-fashioned.
Most varieties of dried beef that are available today are technically chipped beef. I always think of dried beef as a food that the military ate during World War II, but drying meat is historically a good way to preserve it and there are some really good hundred-year-old dried beef recipes.
Here’s the Creamed Macaroni and Dried Beef recipe updated for modern cooks:
Creamed Macaroni and Dried Beef
1 cup macaroni
2 – 4 ounces dried beef
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Cook the macaroni in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente (6 – 8 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, rinse dried beef to reduce the salt content, then drain well. Dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
Melt butter in frying pan; then add the diced dried beef and “frizzle” it until the diced beef curls and browns slightly. Stir flour into the dried beef and butter mixture. Slowly pour in milk, and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Stir in the macaroni and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and excess liquid is absorbed, while stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.
Here’s the original recipe:
I did not use salt in the water that I used to cook the macaroni, nor did I add additional salt to the macaroni and dried beef mixture. The dried beef that I used was quite salty–even after I rinsed it, so additional salt was not needed.