Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Oh my goodness this recipe is YUMMO! I love grilling outside, and have always wanted a smoker, so my hubby bought me a Traeger Smoker, and yesterday we used it for the first time, and smoked a brisket. Have you ever eaten at "Famous Dave's BBQ"? They have a different-than-the norm mac n' cheese that they serve as a side with their brisket, ribs or whatever. So I looked through my piles of recipes that I have printed off the internet at different times, and ran across this one, it was originally from "Top Secret Recipes" but I tweaked it a bit for our tastes. It turned out awesome, needless to say, we were in heaven last night, eating great smoked brisket, mac n' cheese, and coleslaw..... mmmmmmmmm!

Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons finely minced jalapeno, (I used the slices you get in the jar)Use 2 Tablespoons if you like really spice
1 green onion, finely minced (or 2 Tablespoons minced regular onion, minced)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups half n' half
2 cups grated smoked cheddar cheese (I found this in the specialty cheese section at walmart, and I  used
   Hickory Farms smoked cheddar blend, and grated it myself. Smoky Gouda works well too)
1 cup regular cheddar cheese, grated (or colby jack cheese is good too, just grate it yourself, the pre-grated
   kind of cheese doesn't melt as well and is grainy, not as good)
1/4 teaspoon (heaping) salt
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Chipotle Breadcrumb topping
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
dash of salt
4 Tablespoons Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, usually in the Asain section of the grocery store)

To make the cheese sauce:
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium/low heat. Add jalapeno and onion and saute slowly for 5 minutes. You want the jalapeno and onion to only soften, not turn brown.
Whisk in the flour and continue to cook over medium/low heat for another 5 minutes.
Add half n' half, salt , and ground chipotle pepper. Whisk to combine and continue cooking over medium /low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens.
While sauce is thickening, cook pasta in salted boiling water  until tender, see box for time. I use a whole grain pasta and that cooks in about 7 to 9 minutes, but all pasta's vary in cooking time. Remember you don't want it mushy! Drain when done. Set aside.
Make the breadcrumb topping by stirring in the 1/4 teaspoon chipolte powder and the dash of salt into the butter, then add the Panko and stir until the panko crumbs are well coated. Set aside.
When the cream mixture is thickened, add  both grated cheeses, and stir until melted, then stir in drained pasta. Stir until all pasta is coated. Then dump into a casserole, and top with breadcrumbs.
Place in oven under the broiler for a minute or two  or just until the Panko crumbs start to turn golden brown.

Take out of oven and serve with any smoked or BBQ'd meat! This is delicio-so good!!
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

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