Kraft ain’t got nothing on this Mac and Cheese!

Hey everybody!  Just a quick post today because we are going to post a few in the next few days.  We took some time and made scratch mac and cheese today and thought we would share the recipe.  This is a fairly simple recipe that can be done in about 20-30 minutes tops.  Let’s start with the ingredient list.

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I used the following

  • equal parts butter and flour (about 1/4 pound of each)
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk
  • 3 small onions diced
  • about 1/2 pound of bacon
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese
  • 2t dry mustard
  • 1t ground nutmeg
  • 1# whole wheat macaroni
  • salt and pepper to taste

So, get all your prep done and organized and off we go.  First we need to render the bacon in a 4qt stock pot.  Take your time with this.  Keep your heat at about medium and drain off the liquid fat every few minutes and set aside (there is always a good use for smoked bacon grease!).  When the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Reserve some bacon grease in the pot and add your onions and butter.  Cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) then add your flour.  Keep the heat at med-med high and stir constantly until the mixture looks like wet sand (another 5-8 minutes).  At this point we want to add the beer about 1/2 – 1 cup at a time and continue stirring.  Add the milk in the same fashion.  Keep the mixture warm to assure it stays thick and properly absorbs the roux(flour/butter mixture).

When the milk is all in and the temperature is stable at around 185-200 add the cheese and blend with a stick blender until smooth.  Season with mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Toss with the cooked pasta and then you could consume it or take a final step.  Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish, cover with bread crumbs and bacon crumbles and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

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Today we used mostly sharp cheddar.  I am a huge fan of using multiple cheeses like bleu, gruyere, swiss, and whatever else is on hand.  It gives the dish a more complex flavor.  The other ingredient to play with is the beer.  A nice stout or ale will have a wonderful effect vs the water Coor’s light used today.  Thanks for reading and join us the next few days for how to make a stock, some really cool citrus chips, and who knows what else!

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