Sunday, June 15, 2014

52WoC Week 21: Beer - Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is unfortunately something I wasn't allowed to have growing up. You see, I was lactose intolerant and all that decadent cheese would make sick for hours. Fortunately, as I grew older I lost my lactose intolerance and since then I have tried to make up for lost time. Macaroni and cheese comes in all sorts of weird varieties these days, I've even seen it with candy corn so why not throw some beer in it. Beer is the perfect complement for that rich, gooey noodle that comes out of that casserole dish and when it's baked, it becomes even better. And the best part is you get to finish the leftover beer you don't use in the macaroni.

Beer selection for this recipe is fairly important. If you use a light domestic beer you won't get that nice beer essence when the beer reduces. If you use something darker like an amber or a bock you will get a perfect nuttiness that compliments the butter and the cheese perfectly. It doesn't need to be craft beer - it just shouldn't be complete trash1. The beers pair even better if you use smoked cheeses like gouda or cheeses that have a slight funk like gruyere.

Beer Macaroni and Cheese

Qty Ingredient Procedure
8 oz elbow macaroni
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water until slightly less cooked than al dente. Drain and set aside.
2 tbsp butter
  1. Combine butter and flour over medium heat until the flour is cooked and slightly golden.
  2. Slowly add the milk while whisking. Then add the beer, mustard, and cayenne. Simmer until it starts to thicken.
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup beer
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 oz grated cheddar
  1. Lower the heat on the sauce and slowly add the cheese until all melted. Reserve some of the cheese to top the macaroni. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the noodles and cheese sauce and place in a 9"x9" baking dish. Top with reserved cheese and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
4 oz grated gruyere

Start off by preheating your oven to 350°F. Put on a pot of salted water to get boiling to cook your macaroni. While waiting for that, grease a 9"x9" baking dish. Start to cook your pasta, it should take about 7 minutes. You don't want it to be raw but rather on the rarer side. When you bake the macaroni it will continue to cook so if you cook it to al dente now, you'll be stuck with mush later. Drain the noodles and set aside.

While your pasta is cooking, you can start working on your beer cheese sauce. This stuff is good enough to eat on it's own with pieces of bread or apple slices but it's super good with the macaroni. Start by making a roux with your butter and flour in a pan over medium heat. Cook until it starts to turn slightly golden. Slowly add the milk while whisking to incorporate the roux. Once it starts to thicken, start to add the beer. It will foam up on you like your 5th grade science project2 so be careful not to get foam all over your beautiful stove. Lower the heat and start to whisk in the cheese. Make sure to save some of the cheese to top the macaroni before placing it in the oven. You can also do breadcrumbs on top if you want that extra bit of crunch. Once all the cheese is melted and incorporated in the sauce, add the pasta and place in the baking dish. Top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

  1. Genuinely contemplated making this with some Old English or Colt 45 but decided to use Shiner Bock instead. Ultimately I think I made the right call for the taste of the dish but it's not nearly as interesting as cooking with malt liquor.  
  2. We both know you did a vinegar and baking soda volcano as your science project and it was mad weak.  

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