Chorizo Mac n Cheese debuts in winner's circle
Well, with that said, growing up I can't remember mom ever making a mac n cheese dinner. And until now, I've rarely made it, apart from the box (you know what I mean) kind. So, the other day, I decided to come up with yet another recipe for this staple of the American diet. I think it must be recipe 300,000,001. I will call this, Chorizo Mac n Cheese. Go ahead and try it, it's easy. Let me know what you think. What you will need is:
2 cups of elbow macaroni pasta
3 chorizo links, casing removed (2/3 lb)
3 cups of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups of half n half
2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour (sifted)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of course ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
Let's start out by doing our vegetable chopping, getting the chorizo ready, and the cheese grated (if you haven't done like me and just bought the packaged grated cheese). In a medium sized pot, melt one tablespoon of butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, and chorizo and saute for about 5 or 6 minutes. Make sure you took the casing off the chorizo and cut up the meat into smaller chunks. Before you go to the next step, preheat your oven to 375.
Once the onions and shallots are translucent and beginning to brown, add 2 tablespoons of butter, allow to melt, then add the sifted flour making sure that it covers the onions and chorizo lightly, like new fallen snow. Now mix and stir so that flour is well incorporated and has coated all ingredients. Slowly start adding the chicken stock and stir. You will notice that the liquid will immediately thicken. Just keep adding the stock and make sure to stir (be sure to also scrape the bottom of the pan so it doesn't stick or burn).
Once all the chicken stock has been added, stir in the spices you have assembled EXCEPT for the garlic powder, then slowly add the half n half. At this time, it is good to mention that if you want to reduce the fat content, just use fat free half n half that can be found in most stores. Continue to stir until liquid returns to a simmer.
Now, add your macaroni and stir well. If you need a bit more liquid, just add another quarter cup of stock. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes at a slow boil (simmer), then add the cheese. Stir well so that cheese melts into the liquid and pasta. Be sure to use your spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan.
You now should have everything in the pot except the last 3 tablespoons of butter, the garlic powder, and the Panko bread crumbs. Take a baking dish and use some of the remaining butter to coat the dish. Pour the mac n cheese mixture into the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes uncovered.
While the mac n cheese is baking, melt the remaining butter in a fry pan under medium low heat. Next, add the Panko bread crumbs and coat them with the melted butter evenly. Sprinkle the garlic powder and stir. Once the bread crumbs are well coated and they just beginn to color, remove from heat.
After the mac n cheese has been baking for 20 minutes, take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle the Panko bread crumbs on top, taking care that it completely covers the surface. Return dish to the oven and finish baking at 375 for 10 more minutes. For the final 5 minutes, set the oven on broil so that the bread crumbs nicely brown. Remove dish from oven and let set uncovered for about 5 minutes. Then serve while still hot. Enjoy !!!