Monday, November 1, 2010

Green Chile Mac-n-Cheese

OK - I totally loved this. I have many, many variations of macaroni and cheese. And, I largely use mac-n-cheese as an opportunity to clean out the fridge. (Have vegetables that may be slightly past their prime? Chop them up in mac-n-cheese! Have milk or cream suspiciously near its expiration date? Add them to your mac-n-cheese!)

Now that no one I know will ever eat my mac-n-cheese again for fear of their health safety, let's proceed with this recipe.

The poblano cream sauce is a nice addition -- not too hot, but definitely different from your standard mac-n-cheese. And, the addition of corn? Who knew I would love that so much! It gives a very sweet addition to those otherwise completely savory dish. It may be my new favorite add-on to mac-n-cheese.

Before you read any further, you do need to reflect on your own personal mac-n-cheese philosophy. I find that mac-n-cheese fans fall into one of two categories -- stovetop vs oven-baked. Sure, the stovetop method is quicker and allows you to have a completed casserole in about 20 minutes. But, the oven-baked school of users sets a priority on the brown crispy stuff that can happen on the upper layer of your casserole.

I'm an oven-baked kind of gal. This recipe is stovetop only. I've adjusted the last step accordingly. You can make your choice in the privacy of your own home, where you mamby-pamby stovetop casserole fans can eat your dish in moist, soggy, deprived satisfaction.

Oh - and on another note, this particular recipe calls for a very small casserole as your end product. I roughly tripled mine -- enough to use an entire box of macaroni noodles, or, to fill a full 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. The nice thing about mac-n-cheese is that it's very forgiving about proportions. I'm sharing with you the original version of the recipe...except for the baking part at the end.

Green Chile Mac-n-Cheese
Food. People. Want.

1 T vegetable oil
1/4 c poblano chile, diced
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c red onion, diced
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 c corn kernels
2 c elbow pasta, cooked
1/2 c poblano chile, roasted, peeled, and pureed
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c pepper jack cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Roast the poblano chiles.

When cool enough to handle, remove the skins, seeds and stems and puree in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat (use a Dutch oven if you will be baking this). Add the diced poblano chile, red bell pepper, red onion and garlic and saute until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the corn kernels and saute briefly.

Lower the heat to medium and add the cooked macaroni, poblano puree, cream and pepper jack cheese. Stir gently until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese is melted.

For baked casserole lovers -- make sure your oven is preheated to 375. Put a lid on your Dutch oven and place in the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the top is browned and crustified to your liking.

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