Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Chorizo and Poblanos


Although I no longer consider myself a New Yorker, during my time living there and also visiting the Big Apple in subsequent years I have had the pleasure of dining at The Stanton Social on more than one occasion, noshing on delectable, shareable small plates, and sipping excellent craft cocktails.


Over the years, chef/owner Chris Santos has expanded his New York City dining empire to include two more popular hot spots: Beauty & Essex, and Vandal. I have not yet visited these two, but I hope to someday, and of course The Stanton Social always holds a special place in my heart and stomach.


Their French Onion Soup Dumplings are one of the greatest culinary inventions in recent history. I'm not even exaggerating. They are out of this world. For years they've been on my list of recipes to try and recreate in my own kitchen, but I haven't quite gotten around to it.


Imagine my elation when I discovered that Santos would be releasing a cookbook including all of these wonderful and beloved recipes! Back in early February Share: Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table hit bookshelves. It contains recipes from all three of his establishments, ranging from cocktails to breakfast items.


My "wish list" of recipes I would like to try is extensive, and probably includes the majority of recipes within the book. I've actually made a list. It's long. While many of the recipes are for small bites of food perfect for sharing (hence the whole mantra of the cookbook), there are other shareable recipes that are much more entree-like in style.


A perfect example of this is the Mac 'n' Cheese with Chorizo and Poblanos. I am an avid fan of macaroni and cheese, and the various versions I make are some of my favorites. While I love my recipes for this comfort food, I'm always happy to try new ones, and the version in this book is very enticing.

Before Baking

The cheese sauce is a bit different from the typical norm. It begins with a combination of canned evaporated milk, regular milk, and heavy cream brought just to a boil and then whisked together with three kinds of cheese. No roux here. The richness and thickness of the evaporated milk and the decadence of all the cheeses is plenty to creates a luscious and gooey cheese sauce.

After baking

A combination of sharp Cheddar, Gruyère, and goat cheese creates a wonderful balance of cheesy flavors, taking the best that each cheese has to offer: sharpness from the Cheddar, nuttiness from the Gruyère, and creamy tanginess from the goat cheese.


Chorizo sausage infuses its smoky quality to the entire dish, while chopped roasted poblanos add a hint more spice. The dish is finished with an herbed bread crumb topping featuring crunchy panko, a touch more of Gruyère cheese, and chopped herbs for a bit of color.


I recently made this dish for my nephew's birthday party and the general consensus was "Oh my God, I need this recipe!" This is not your typical mac and cheese, it's definitely elevated for an adult palate, but it couldn't be easier to make (like I said, no need to even make a roux!).


I baked it in two smaller casserole dishes so we could set one at each end of the table for our large gathering, but you can definitely follow the recipe as is and bake it in one larger baking dish.

Look for the "Hidden Mickey" to find the second casserole dish ;-)

Mac ’n’ Cheese With Chorizo and Poblanos
Serves 6
(From Share)

Herbed Bread Crumbs:
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, or 1 tablespoon each parsley and fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cheese Sauce:
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for baking dish
8 ounces smoked chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 pound radiatore or ziti pasta (I used cavatappi/cellantani)
2 poblano (fresh ancho) chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

To make the herbed crumbs: Mix the panko and butter together in  asmall bowl, being sure that the panko is coated with the butter. Stir in the Gruyère and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the crumbs aside.

To make the cheese sauce: Bring the evaporated milk, whole milk, and cream just to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, taking care that the mixture does not boil over. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk in the Cheddar, Gruyère, and goat cheese, and mix until the cheeses are melted. Whisk in the sriracha and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the cheese sauce aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to paper towels to drain.

Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil large baking dish or cast iron skillet.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the radiatore and cook according to package directions until almost al dente (slightly undercook pasta as it will bake and soften further in the oven--my pasta said to boil 11 to 12 minutes for al dente, and I boiled it for 8 minutes instead). Drain well. Return the pasta to the cooking pot and stir in the cheese sauce, chorizo and poblanos. Stir in the yolks, mixing well.

Spread the mixture in the oiled dish and sprinkle the herbed crumbs on top. Bake until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives, if using, and serve hot.

Note: Evaporated milk has a richer flavor than fresh milk, although you can use the latter if you don't happen to have canned on hand. In that case, I'd use 1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream.

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