I play around with Mac ‘N Cheese a lot. Scott loves it and really once you get the basic technique down it’s very simple to make. I was talking with my lovely friend, Whitney, on Twitter not long ago and the idea of a beer mac ‘n cheese popped into my head.
And it wouldn’t leave.
Because really, how delicious does that sound? Exactly.
I had to make it and once I told Scott about my idea then I couldn’t not make it because that would be teasing.
I’m no tease kids.
I made this and knocked it out of the park.
Andrea’s Beer and Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese
- 12oz of Dark Beer
- 1/2C Chicken Broth
- 4TBSP (Heaping) of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1C Shredded Cheddar (good cheddar please!), plus extra for garnish
- 1C Shredded Pepperjack Cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 3/4 of a Green pepper, chopped
- 3/4 of a Red Pepper, chopped
- 1/2-3/4 of a Large Onion, chopped
- 1 Jalapeno, chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced or grated
- 5-6 Slices of crispy bacon, chopped
- 4C, Uncooked, Whole Wheat Small-Medium, Pasta Shells (not the stuffing kind)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2tsp Garlic Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Light Olive Oil for cooking, about 3 TBSP
Preheat oven to 400 and grease a large casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the shells, take them about half way. Drain and set aside. In a medium sized saute pan, add in about 2TBSP of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the peppers and onions, sauteeing for about 5 minutes. Add in the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Cook for about a minute then add in the garlic and bacon, and cook for about another minute or two. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until everything is coated. If the mixture looks really dry, add in some more olive oil until it looks a touch smoother. Not too much oil, just enough to give everything a little more moisture. Allow this flour mixture to cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the beer and stir, making sure to avoid clumping. It will foam up but that will dissipate in a minute. Then add in the chicken stock and stir. Allow to come to a simmer so it thickens up a bit. Slowly add in the cheeses and stir, turning down the heat at this point to a low-medium. Once the cheeses are melted, you should have a lovely sauce. Add in the pasta at this point and combine. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and place in the oven. Allow to heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and place back in the oven just till the cheese is melted.
Serve up in bowls and enjoy!
Ooooo this dish was so very good! The beer is what makes this dish so make sure you use a nice dark lager style beer. Meaning, no Miller, Bud or whatever allowed here. You want the beer to shine so it has to be a great beer in order to give you a great Mac ‘N Cheese.
You can only make straight up Mac ‘n Cheese so healthy, you know? There’s no cream or milk used and the cheese isn’t a ton when you think about how much this actually makes, which is a lot of mac ‘n cheese. Enough that we got four meals out of it. Plus whole wheat pasta instead of basic white pasta.
It’s a very intense and rich dish.
Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!