GREEN CHILE MAC & CHEESE
Mac and cheese recipes are a dime a dozen on the net. If you have a food blog and are even remotely tolerant of dairy, odds are you’ve posted a favorite recipe or unique rendition. From bacon and blue cheese to truffles and lobster, there are countless offerings out there that claim to offer the ultimate mac and cheese experience. Whether it’s topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven or fresh from the stove top, oozing with a gooey melted cheese sauce, I’ve never met a version I haven’t liked. That being said, in my mind one version stands out among the rest as a truly extraordinary and distinctive twist on the original: green chile mac and cheese.
I first had green chile mac and cheese on a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for Spring Training with my Dad where we dined at chef Robert McGrath’s flagship, Roaring Fork restaurant. After amazing, back-to-back dinners we decided to buy the cookbook and attempt to replicate his signature riff on the comfort classic. Needless to say, the results were a near perfect match. Simple to prepare, this dish gets it’s deep, smoky flavor from the addition of a puree of roasted poblano chiles. Add in some heavy cream, a confetti of red bell pepper, sweet corn kernels and a healthy dose of piquant pepper jack cheese and you have a mac and cheese dish worthy of a little excitement.
GREEN CHILE MAC & CHEESE
Adapted from American Western Cooking from the Roaring Fork, by Robert McGrath
Once you have the prep work out of the way, this recipe comes together very quickly. For instructions on how to roast, peel and puree chiles, check out my recipe for New Mexico Green Chile with Pork. To make this recipe at a moments notice, do what I do and roast extra poblanos to keep on hand in your freezer. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of well-salted, boiling water until al dente. I like to rinse the pasta under cold running water to halt the cooking process in an effort to maintain as much texture as possible. This recipe can be doubled very easily and makes a great potluck dish for a large, hungry group of people.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup poblano chile, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
- 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup roasted, peeled, and pureed poblano chile
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup, grated hot pepper jack cheese
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the diced poblano chile, red bell pepper, red onion and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the corn kernels and sauté briefly.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the macaroni, poblano puree, cream and pepper jack cheese. Stir gently until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese is melted.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a side