Monday, January 7, 2013

Stout macaroni and cheese


Have you ever had beer-cheese soup? If so, and you liked it, you will really like this mac n' cheese since it's basically a really creamy beer-cheese soup with noodles. Is there an end to the possibilities of macaroni and cheese? Readers know that I love this comfort food and while I love classic mac n' cheese, I also enjoy it with smoked cheese and pumpkin, Mexican flavors, and summer squash, just to name a few. This was my first time making it with beer. I chose a milk stout (because I thought that made sense given that it was going into a milk and cheese sauce) from one of our favorite local craft breweries, Southern Tier Brewing Company. This specific beer is not required for this recipe, but make sure it's a stout you enjoy drinking because the flavor will be prominent in the dish. I've seen Guinness mac n' cheese and similar on menus at places like Irish pubs.  

This recipe will serve about six people. Serve this mac n' cheese with a green salad with a nice vinaigrette to cut through the cheese sauce. I also put out some briny and spicy green olives. This dish is perfect for the weekend or a snowy evening with a nice beer. 

Stout macaroni and cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 garlic clove, minced
2 heaping tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup stout of your choice
2 cups milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 lb. box of elbow noodles, or other short-cut pasta
hot sauce for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large baking dish. Cook the pasta in salted water until just under al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside in its cooking pot.

While the pasta cooks, warm the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the garlic and stir. Cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add the flour and whisk. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, whisking often. Slowly pour in the stout while whisking. Continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce is smooth and the beer has reduced slightly. Pour in the milk, a good pinch of sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese about a handful at a time, reserving about 1/2 a cup. When the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, slowly stir it into the pasta. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and the top is golden.

Let sit for about 5 minutes and then serve. Top with your favorite hot sauce, such as Frank's, if desired.

    
What was I cooking one year ago?: olive oil-almond cake with vanilla mascarpone cheese
Two years ago?: Chana palak 
Three?: butternut squash Moroccan stew      

24 comments:

  1. Wow, this looks perfect, I like cooking with beer!

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  2. I somehow always seem to have guinness around so this mac and cheese HAS to happen. LOVE it!

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  3. Everything's better when some type of alcohol is added to the recipe!

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  4. Nice twist on the classic Mac and Cheese...looks delicious.
    Happy New Year and have a great week ahead Amy!

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  5. Hi Amy, this look interesting, great combination. I'm sure it taste heavenly. :)

    Have a nice week ahead.

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  6. Wow, that looks wonderful. I've been craving mac and cheese lately. Thanks for the excuse to make one!

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  7. What a great twist on an old favorite. I'm sure the stout gives it a complex flavor..yummy.

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  8. This is a great idea. I'm going to try to remember to make this when St. Patricks day rolls around!

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  9. I'm honestly not much of a m&c fan, but this looks delicious. I find m&c a bit bland, but I bet the stout gives the dish a lovely, earthy flavor.

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  10. It'll have to wait until a "diet cheat day" but I will sooo try this next time!

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  11. Totally craving mac and cheese now! With the stout, it must taste amazing.

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  12. My husband was asking for mac & cheese the other days since it's been years since I've made it. I know he would LOVE this one! Great recipe! Just happen to have a can of Guinness in the fridge.

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  13. It looks really delicious! I have never really made macaroni and cheese and I think the combination with stout is going to be a really great mix of flavours. Thanks for sharing :)

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  14. I love the flavor, beer leaves to food when it is cooked! This is the ultimate comfort food Amy!

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  15. oh my gosh, this mac and cheese looks incredible!

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  16. Interesting...never heard of adding beer to mac & cheese...very creative!

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  17. Oh, holy yum! I looooove beer cheese soup and beer cheese dip, so I know I'd love this. What an awesome, creative dish. WANT! =)

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  18. Aw man, you have no idea how I've been craving mac & cheese lately! If you're description is true, than this sounds wonderful.

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  19. You had me at stout…this is a very interesting dish! It looks fabulous!!

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  20. I love mac and cheese. That looks so so good! It's the best couch dish :)

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  21. On a cold day like today, this sounds so comforting and appealing! I love homemade mac and cheese, and I like your variation!

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  22. I have never heard of adding stout in homemade mac 'n cheese, what a unique idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. Wow I never would have though about that! But as soon as you said beer cheese soup, it totally made sense! Sounds delicious!

    And I love all your variations on mac and cheese. I usually make my tried and true, but I think it's time to try something new!

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