Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Locked & Loaded Mac and Cheese with a Bang!

First of all, I'd like to thank the generous people at Lock-n-Load Java for the delicious samples of coffee that they sent to us at 37 Cooks! It's some of the best coffee I've had in a long time. I like to do things a little differently, so I made one of my wife's favorites. She loves my macaroni and cheese, so I decided to add some L-n-L coffee to my recipe. I saw one of our cooks smoking some cheese rubbed with coffee, and another had some cheese in the fridge that had been coated with coffee, so I thought I'd try the mac and cheese with coffee. I figured it would be either a big hit or a huge disaster...lol. Now, I was taking a huge chance here as my wife does not like coffee at all, but she is more than willing to try just about anything I cook and, I love to improvise a little when I'm cooking.

Locked & Loaded Mac and Cheese with a Bang!
by Matt Baird

Bechamel sauce with cheese:
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
16 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated
2 big handfuls Parmesan, grated

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon annatto powder (for coloring)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons Lock-n-Load Java Charlie Don't Surf Kona Coffee grounds, whizzed in the coffee grinder to a fine powder
1 teaspoon SYM Seasoning

3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 2.8-ounce package of French's french fried onions

Add Ins:
2 medium onions, chopped
6 ounces Teet's Smoked Pure Pork Tasso, crumbled

I use a 16-ounce box of either elbow macaroni or rotini

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the bread crumbs, butter and French's fried onions in a bowl, set aside.

Saute the onions in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Add the tasso, saute for another 2 or 3 minutes and set aside.

Cook the macaroni, but leave them a little underdone, as they are going to cook some more in the oven. Drain the macaroni.

In the same pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a loose paste, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the milk, stirring constantly. As the mixture begins to thicken, add all the spices. When it's pretty thick, turn off the heat and add the cheeses in 2 or 3 batches, stirring well in between batches. When all the cheese has been incorporated, add the macaroni and stir well to distribute the cheese sauce evenly. Stir in the tasso and onion mixture. Put the mac and cheese in a 9 X 13 baking pan and bake at 450 for 12 minutes. Take the pan outta the oven and spread the bread crumb mixture on top of the bubbly cheesy goodness. Place back into the oven, lower the heat to 375 and bake for another 10 minutes , until it's brown and bubbly. Let cool for about 15 minutes, if you can wait that long to taste it, and serve on a plate, sprinkled with Vulcans Fire Salt from The Spice House.

A couple of notes from the Chef:
1. I used annatto for coloring, as I like a bright mac and cheese, and the coffee made it a little dark looking.
2. I had some smoked tasso from Teet's Food Store in the freezer and thought it would be a nice smoky, spicy addition,which it was.
3. I wasn't sure the coffee was gonna work with mac and cheese, especially as my wife does not care for coffee, but it was great! My wife had seconds at dinnertime !! Thanks again, Lock & Load for the great coffee!

Made with love in the USA by Matt the Butcher

1 comment:

  1. Matt, this is awesome. I love the idea of coffee mac'n'cheese. I'm definitely going to be trying this!