Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recipe: Poblano Pepper Macaroni and Cheese

For this past Sunday's big football playoff games, we slow cooked a pot of brisket chili and decided we needed something to go on the side - namely, Poblano Pepper Macaroni and Cheese.  This was perfect as a side, a vegetarian option, or even mixed right in with the chili.  It would be a perfect Superbowl recipe next month, with plenty for a group, but be aware that this dish is spicy!


2 Poblano peppers
1 16 oz. bag of elbow macaroni
1-1.5 cups of milk (We used skim and didn't lose any creaminess)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
Zest of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Blacken the peppers on the stove, using a grate.  Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, until the skin is charred.  (You can also blacken the peppers under the broiler, for about 5 minutes per side.)  Remove from the peppers from heat and place in a paper bag for twenty minutes.  Once the peppers are cooled, peel of the skin, remove the seeds and stems, and finely dice.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a liberal amount of salt, and cook the pasta until al dente - about 6 minutes.  Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large skillet (it will have to hold all of the pasta and sauce) or Dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat, then add the flour to form a roux.

Stir with a whisk, and add half a cup milk slowly until it forms a thick paste.

Mix in the chili, mustard, cumin, lime zest, and diced Poblanos.  Add the cheese and allow it to melt, occasionally pouring in additional milk until the cheese sauce reaches the desired consistency - melty and thick, but liquid enough to coat the pasta.
Stir in the pasta, and bake for 20 minutes uncovered.  Serve hot.

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